A company similar to Google will emerge in digital OOH: Rajat Rakkhit, EMN

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In OOH News | April 30, 2009
In a tête-à-tête with Rajat Rakkhit of Elucido Media Networks, he talks about the company's one year journey and digitisation of OOH in India

Bengaluru based Elucido Media Networks (EMN), which provides digital media solutions for next gen out of home (OOH) digital signage applications, has completed a year of its operations in India, being set up by two experts in technology and business solutions, Rajat Rakkhit and Jay Sethuram.

Elucido offers high-end customised media services across commercial, non-commercial and enterprise market segments such as education, healthcare, hospitality, consumer retail and banking. "We saw a huge opportunity in the digital OOH market in India. The idea was to provide solutions at the high-end of the market and certain verticals which were virtually untapped," says Rajat Rakkhit, co-founder, chairperson and chief executive officer, Elucido Media Networks.

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Rakkhit has more than 20 years of experience in the semiconductor, telecommunications and aerospace industries. Elucido is Rakkhit's second entrepreneurial venture - the first being UltraPhotonics, a Silicon Valley optical telecom start-up that he co-founded. Early in his career, Rakkhit conducted innovative research in the areas of lasers and electro-optics at NASA, Allied Bendix Aerospace and Martin Marietta. He has also been instrumental in companies such as AMD and Cypress Semiconductor.

Jay Sethuram, co-founder and chief technology officer, Elucido, has been a successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, specialising in design and development of semiconductors and systems for optical networking. He was also the co-founder and CTO of Advancel, Cerent and StratumOne, companies that became highly successful and were acquired by leading technology companies in Silicon Valley.

Elucido offers clients complete end-to-end solutions including digital signage (LCDs/LEDs), content management systems, media players, interactive solutions and content management solutions.

"The solution is fully integrated and consists of content, management, provisioning, distribution, delivery, interactivity, mobile content delivery, ROI analysis, reporting and billing. We also develop our own content and work with customers to develop content for them," informs Rakkhit.

Interestingly, the name 'Elucido' has an interesting derivation: 'e' stands for digital, 'lucid' stands for clear and 'o' for 'of digital clarity'.

Discussing future plans, he shares that the company is positioned to be a global digital media infrastructure solutions provider. "Establishing a network in India enables EMN to demonstrate its leading digital media management technology in its own 'backyard'. The goal then is to extend the services to leading digital signage operators worldwide through its leading digital media managed services strategy," says Rakkhit.

Is OOH in India moving towards digitisation? "Yes, digital is going to happen for a couple of reasons, one being cost," says Rakkhit, adding, "digital is more efficient compared to traditional print. Secondly, because of urban planning and aesthetics, cities are now banning large outdoor hoardings and implementing zoning and finally, digital technology is environment friendly, is better compared to traditional print/ink/flex which is harmful to the environment and also not recycled properly."

He believes that the ad spending traditional media such as print and TV are fast declining and moving to digital media such as the Internet and digital OOH. "Digital OOH is poised for a tremendous growth, similar to what happened to advertising on the Internet, which created Google. We feel that a company similar to Google will emerge in the digital OOH space," says Rakkhit.

However, though digital does work out to be more expensive than other traditional formats of OOH media, with the initial investment in the infrastructure being higher, the total cost of ownership and revenue potential is exponentially better than traditional OOH, he informs.

Rakkhit also discusses the challenges of the medium, saying that digital OOH is new and not enough data is available on the effectiveness of this medium. Thus, advertisers are cautiously watching this and waiting before they commit money to this medium. "With our unique audience measurement technology, we believe that we can help them overcome this scepticism," he says.

In the last one year, the company has seen a shift in the market towards digital OOH. It is positive, seeing things turn for the better and believes that it will achieve close to the targets in 2009 and expects to do very well in 2010.

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