Parsempo CEO Avi Schapiro: Automating and Democratizing the Digital Signage Industry with AI

How Parsempo utilized AI to create the world's first end-to-end automation platform for the digital signage and digital out-of-home industry.

Yuliya Sychikova
COO @ DataRoot Labs
23 Feb 2021
7 min read
Parsempo CEO Avi Schapiro: Automating and Democratizing the Digital Signage Industry with AI

Avi Schapiro is the co-founder and CEO of Parsempo, the premier end-to-end platform automating digital signage and digital-out-of-home displays.

Founded in 2019, Parsempo has raised USD 1M in pre-seed funding from Techstars’ Tel Aviv Accelerator and the Nielsen Innovate Fund - the early-stage investment vehicle of the global media measurement company Nielsen. Based in Caesarea, Israel, Parsempo develops an AI-powered platform that converts any screen in the public and business domain into a smart, real-time engagement and performance measurement asset for its owners. Parsempo makes it easy for anyone to set up these screens in minutes, design and display visually engaging targeted experiences, and, if they so choose, generate revenue from their screens by selling screen time to local, national, and global advertisers.

What prompted you to found Parsempo?

Parsempo was founded to solve a giant gap in the digital signage industry - the gap between screen owners, stakeholders and the screens themselves. Today these entities, while sharing a natural need for one another, are unnaturally separated due to a glaring lack of technology. This situation leads to high costs of screen ownership, the need for multiple intermediaries to connect the parties, manual implementation of creatives and advertisements, and perhaps worst of all, to the unmeasured effectiveness of the campaign. To close this gap, Parsempo has created the world’s first end-to-end automated platform to automate and democratize the digital signage and digital out of home industry. On the one hand, the platform automates the process, allowing screen owners to setup and run both their own internal digital content as well as advertisements from anywhere in the world. On the other hand, the platform democratizes the space by enabling developers, designers and advertisers of any size to economically gain access and provide services to screens anywhere in the world.

Our long-term vision is to empower screen owners and operators around the world to easily accomplish what was previously complicated and expensive. Using real time data and automation, Parsempo provides a self-service platform to allow users to create engaging experiences that increase sales, provide critical information and generate revenue.

Our long-term vision is to empower screen owners and operators around the world to easily accomplish what was previously complicated and expensive.

Avi Schapiro

CEO @ Parsempo

How did this industry evolve and why isn’t it a standard component of omni-channel marketing strategies?

The history of public signage dates to ancient Egypt. With the advance of technology so too advanced public signage, but it wasn’t until Guttenberg’s revolutionary printing press was brought into the service of signage that the industry experienced its first significant leap. The printed sign, albeit using highly advanced technologies, are still the mainstay of public signage today.

That said, in the 1980s analog video signs became widely accessible and marked a new era in visual communication that used VHS tapes, and later DVDs, to display their messages on Cathode-Ray Tube (CRT) consoles. In the early 2000s, display technology improved dramatically and became more widespread as flat panel displays became more affordable and less cumbersome. All verticals quickly adopted these displays in the public signage marketplace. They can be found everywhere: hotels, public transport, banks, retail, hospital, clinics, fast food restaurants, gas stations, and in just about every public venue imaginable.

The digital screen market today is only growing, and it is estimated that the global market for digital screens deployed in public and business domains will reach over half a billion installations by 2025. From interactive informational screens to entertainment and advertising applications, these digital screens can do so much more than ever before, going far beyond the early days of linear content playback.

Unfortunately, despite the truly astounding technological advancements in digital display hardware, the existing software powering these screens is sorely lagging in development. This means that creating and delivering high quality experiences is still expensive, complicated, and inefficient. The software currently managing these screens and powering advanced experiences did not evolve as quickly as the software used in the parallel marketplace of mobile and web-based experiences. To put it simply: there are digital screens everywhere, but they are treated as an offline asset rather than a digital engagement platform.

There are numerous reasons that have led the massive industry of public digital signage to where it is today. One of them is the involvement of multiple intermediaries and stakeholders using manual and inefficient methods that haven’t changed in decades. It started with legacy solutions tied to specific hardware and software that later added on-premise networking solutions in the earlier days. Over the past ten years, the industry has been shifting towards cloud and hybrid cloud management with an abundance of companies offering simple playlist-based solutions with a “high tech” look and feel. Still, this industry suffers from poor communications standards, limited measurability, and high costs of ownership, all making it too cumbersome to effectively integrate into omnichannel communication strategies.

This is where Parsempo comes in. We have developed the software to enable data sensors, self-service, and an easy-to-use interface anyone can operate.

We have developed the software to enable data sensors, self-service, and an easy-to-use interface anyone can operate.

Avi Schapiro

CEO @ Parsempo

Prior to founding Parsempo, you were an assistant lecturer in a few universities and a co-founder and CEO of Mindex Technologies. How did those experiences help you with running Parsempo?

Mindex Technologies was my first venture into the start-up world. We built a software engine to analyze online video for targeted advertising. The system leveraged a robust technology stack that included computer vision, speech recognition, and social signals to perform real-time analysis of online video in order to identify people, products, brands and topics within each video frame. The end result was an extremely accurate media engagement framework for online video to attain the holy grail of contextual in-video programmatic advertising. The venture ultimately failed but valuable lessons were learned. Perhaps the most important lesson, and one that I have been able to apply to Parsempo, is that strong technology is meaningless without the right business model to create value in the hands of its users. Parsempo has both strong technology and a powerful business model that brings value to screen owners and to key stakeholders in the industry, which include system integrators, hardware manufacturers and resellers, advertisers, developers and designers.

Regarding my role as university lecturer, I can say that lecturing on business has allowed me to share experiences with a broad range of entrepreneurs while simultaneously refining my own understandings and approaches to business. In Israel we have a saying, “From my teachers I have learned much, but from my students I have learned even more.” In teaching entrepreneurs at the early stages of building their companies I work with them with on focus – organizing resources that will move the business forward while reducing the time spent on tasks that ultimately don’t produce value. In addition, I help entrepreneurs with a vast array of business dynamics, from efficiently structuring their business to proper communication with investors, customers and partners alike. Working to make other people’s businesses thrive naturally contributes to my own abilities, which I then apply to my own businesses.

Parsempo has both strong technology and a powerful business model that brings value to screen owners and to key stakeholders in the industry, which include system integrators, hardware manufacturers and resellers, advertisers, developers and designers.

Avi Schapiro

CEO @ Parsempo

Avi Schapiro (CEO), Ephraim Tabackman (CTO), Mois Navon (Business Development) Avi Schapiro (CEO), Ephraim Tabackman (CTO), Mois Navon (Business Development)

What role does AI play in your technology?

AI is creating a revolution in the world and Parsempo is bringing it to the world of digital screens.

The digital screen industry been around for decades but its growth has been stunted by archaic business models, little to no technology or data analytics, as well as other inefficiencies. Imagine a world where digital screens are not only connected to each other but to millions of data sensors - we call it the Internet of Screens. These sensors, backed by AI, provide a continuous stream of data that can power multiple forms of audience and venue aware experiences and interactions. AI will turn plain digital screens into a medium that can be personalized and measured in real-time without any human intervention.

Parsempo’s patented technology enables upgraded digital screens with advanced machine learning and computer vision algorithms to generate rich user experience data. This data is then analyzed by our proprietary AI algorithms to adapt the experiences on these screens for maximum engagement with consumers. Parsempo thus frees digital screen owners and operators from the need to manually manage content strategies based on guesswork by letting data driven decision algorithms do the work automatically. In addition, using this same user experience data, our predictive modeling algorithms allow the various stakeholders to forecast expected returns and engagement thus providing them essential information to maximize their exposure in places where it pays.

AI is creating a revolution in the world and Parsempo is bringing it to the world of digital screens.

Avi Schapiro

CEO @ Parsempo

What were the technical challenges that your engineers had to overcome while building the Parsempo platform?

There were numerous challenges our engineers had to overcome in order to truly unify the experience of screen management across a variety of business applications.

The first key challenge was to develop what we call the universal digital screen interface (UDSI), which allows our platform to communicate with all the various digital screen types by standardizing data inputs and accounting for variations in both hardware and software. Solving this challenge gives our solution the scalability that will enable Parsempo to grow and achieve mass market penetration quickly and efficiently.

The second challenge was to ensure that our data collection maintains accuracy within the confines of privacy regulations. This is important for many reasons, not the least of which is to fulfill our mission as a Nielsen portfolio company that is interested in creating data measurement standards that can be trusted on a global scale over multiple applications that measure performance, attribution and effectiveness.

The third big engineering challenge was to create a simple, intuitive interface that allows non-tech savvy screen owners to implement very advanced features in any environment, from any device, without any technical training. This “self-service” approach required a clean user experience approach as well as very efficient code that could run on low-powered off-the-shelf devices.

Is there a particular client story that you can share where Parsempo technology made a huge impact?

Retail is one of the largest sectors using digital screens for internal marketing. One of Parsempo’s first clients used the platform to showcase internal promotions in-store as well as enabling monetization for trade marketing. That is, his suppliers paid him to digitally promote their in-store products while he also ran his own chain’s internal promotions. As a result, the Parsempo platform enabled him to create an additional revenue stream that previously did not exist – and that income not only covered his capital expenditure on the hardware but increased his in-store sales by 60% within just a few days.

How does your platform enable passive income generation?

Today, the majority of the screens in the world are not monetized. On the one hand, screen owners/operators do not have the knowledge, time or skills to sell “screen time” without engaging professionals. On the other hand, advertisers are unaware of the screens or do not know how to reach them. And even without these hurdles, both sides require a significant budget to engage professionals to make the match.

The Parsempo platform removes all these hurdles, allowing screen owners and advertisers to “meet” without meeting. Screen owners create their own digital contracts to share with advertisers or simply make the screens available in our real-time marketplace, built so that any advertiser can choose the time, place and audience they wish to target and pay according to measured performance. The business between the screen owners and the advertises takes place automatically with screen owners receiving the proceeds directly in their bank account.

The business between the screen owners and the advertises takes place automatically with screen owners receiving the proceeds directly in their bank account.

Avi Schapiro

CEO @ Parsempo

What opportunities has the Coronavirus pandemic made possible for you?

COVID has caused business owners - SMBs, enterprises, and even municipalities – to be much more sensitive to expenditures while at the same time, much more motivated to maximize their customer value. Any costs that do not generate income are clamped down.

Our solution, that turns existing screens from cost lines to profit generators, and delivers a user experience that converts window shoppers to paying customers, is exactly what business owners of all sizes are looking for.

The future is about utilizing compliant, anonymized sensory data in order to achieve the desired level of attribution and personalization.

Avi Schapiro

CEO @ Parsempo

What features are next for your clients? What do you hope to achieve 3-5 years from now as a company?

The evolution of the digital screen market is dynamic and continuously growing. This fact, along with the great number of varying user cases and applications, demands constant development. As a young venture we are naturally focused on developing features according to the needs of our clients. Today that means powering solutions in mobility, smart cities, retail and hospitality. The applications we are building are delivering capabilities that our clients never dreamed possible.

Some of our upcoming features include self-healing network capabilities to reduce the significant resources that we have found network operators dedicate to monitor and maintain the operational status of their network. In addition, we are working on simplifying the integration of our system with existing legacy networks and hardware configurations to alleviate the capital investment our clients would have had to invest in order to upgrade their existing network.

In the longer term, we plan to continuously evolve our capabilities that enable our clients to easily create immersive digital experiences that are synergistic with maturing technologies like augmented reality as well as broadening the scope of data sources that impact our recommendation and predictions algorithms.

AI will play a vital role in abiding by privacy while analyzing the compliant data sources to drive real insights that lead to personalized experiences, increasing engagement and, ultimately, sales.

Avi Schapiro

CEO @ Parsempo

What do you think is next for AI and IoT in MarTech?

There are several elements that will impact how AI and IoT influence MarTech. First off, sensors are now being integrated into everything: phones, wearables, even infrastructure like “smart concrete.” This is generating a need to make sense of, and apply, the massive amount of collected data. AI is the way to handle BIG data. Second, there is increased regulation (e.g., GDPR, CCPA) defining how organizations are allowed to track and process personal data. This poses challenges to services that are focused on personalization. That is, while creating attribution models based on users sharing their data – voluntarily (e.g. Facebook) or involuntarily (e.g., via any website or app) – are experiencing regulatory and social pressure. The future is about utilizing compliant, anonymized sensory data in order to achieve the desired level of attribution and personalization.

AI will play a vital role in abiding by privacy while analyzing the compliant data sources to drive real insights that lead to personalized experiences, increasing engagement and, ultimately, sales.

Author

Yuliya Sychikova
COO @ DataRoot Labs
Yuliya is a co-founder and COO of DataRoot Labs, where she oversees operations, sales, communication, and Startup Venture Services. She brings onboard business and venture capital experience that she gained at a leading tech investment company in CEE, where she oversaw numerous deals and managed a portfolio across various tech niches including AI and IT service companies.
offices map
Kyiv (HQ)
Max Frolov
CEO @ DataRoot Labs
Tel Aviv
Ivan Didur
CTO @ DataRoot Labs
Los Angeles
Yuliya Sychikova
COO @ DataRoot Labs
builds and implement AI-powered systems across different verticals to help our clients operate effectively.
GoodFirms Badge