RealTime IT News

JiWire Augments Ads with Appliance

At the MuniWireless07 conference in Boston today, JiWire unveiled its first appliance product for in-network advertising to be run by wireless network providers.

“We’ve transitioned from a [hotspot] directory company to an advertising company for mobile broadband,” says David Blumenfeld, JiWire’s vice president of marketing. Since the launch of its Mobile Broadband Advertising Network in July of 2006, JiWire has added 20 provider customers, and some major advertisers including Microsoft, Sony and Charles Schwab.

The new appliance is all about adding new ad services to a closed network, says Blumenfeld. “We’ve evolved our ad platform to those challenges.”

The new appliance does everything the hosted ad service did to date, such as showing ads on the captive portal page before user authentication. It also offers two new ad formats the company calls “in-stream ads,” including interstitial -- say, a streaming video commercial for Audi that appears whenever an end user goes to a car Web site -- or ads that show at pre-determined time intervals. Of course, the network operator can just show continuous ads, too. The appliance uses Front Porch advertising delivery technology. It’s not a standalone product, but simply an extension of the existing ad platform. It will come in different versions, depending on network traffic.

Blumenfeld couldn’t give out names of provider customers who are currently testing the appliance, but at least one hardware vendor is prepared to say it works. Motorola has certified the JiWire Ad network -- not just the appliance, but the entire platform -- as compatible with its MOTOwi4 Ready Application Ecosystem.

“The goal of a muni network is to make money, and we are a complement to a mesh provider like Motorola, to help their customers get a built-in revenue stream by saying, ‘This is proven to work with our gear,’” says Blumenfeld. “This is a validation, when a company as large as Motorola sees value in what we’re doing. They went out of their way to test our product, and saw no snags.”

Last week, JiWire also announced plans to build in location capabilities by licensing the Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) run by Skyhook Wireless. “You can say, ‘Find me,’ and using Skyhook’s API, we’ll find where you are,” says Blumenfeld. Targeted advertising based on user location is sure to follow. Skyhook's new API allows application and Web site developers to build in positioning with just a few lines of extra code.