Audio over IP pioneer Barix is helping MMX In-Store Media, one of three arms
comprising MMX Companies, efficiently manage and deliver music and advertising
content to three retail businesses in Zimbabwe.

Using Barix’s SoundScape cloud-based platform, MMX In-Store Media has
transitioned from an FTP-based playout system to a fully integrated streaming
service that minimizes the costs and labour associated with long-distance,
multipoint audio content delivery. The initial SoundScape deployment supports
nearly 100 locations—including 60 branches of the TM Pick and Pay supermarket
chain across Zimbabwe—with plans to scale to many additional locations as more
clients sign on for the service.

The transition to SoundScape followed an effort to develop an IP-based delivery
system in house. That effort was born out of need to reduce the costs of delivering
in-store media content over satellite, which remains a popular yet expensive
distribution platform in Africa.

“We worked with a developer who was keen on building something from the ground
up, but the costs proved too high for all involved,’ said Brendon Sole, director, MMX
Companies. “We wanted a more flexible and less expensive alternative to satellite,
and Zimbabwe actually has fairly good connectivity compared to the rest of Africa
thanks to investment in fibre-optic links. We initially deployed Barix’s FTP-based
system, which worked well, but our goal was a more cloud-based system with
content management portal that was easy to configure and use. SoundScape was
the answer to that goal.’

SoundScape is a fully integrated live and scheduled streaming service that brings
together cloud-based content management, end point playout and global monitoring
capabilities in a highly programmable, user-friendly package, and eliminates the
complex integration and management of many different components to deliver
branded audio to customers. Service providers like MMX In-Store Media can quickly
launch a SoundScape service with a subscription and IP audio players at each end
location, and immediately start reliably delivering music and advertising to
restaurants, stores, hotels and public facilities. Barix’s upfront SaaS-based “pay as
you go’ price model, along with SoundScape’s infinite scalability, also ensures
attainable long-term expansion goals are reachable while maintaining overall low
total cost of ownership. Advanced features, which include dynamic ad insertion for
each location, enable new revenue generating streams and an accelerated return on

Beyond extending the SoundScape network to additional locations, moving forward
Sole expects to better leverage SoundScape’s extensive system monitoring
capabilities, which provide detailed insight into performance down to each remote
player. For now, he’s relying on system alerts within the central SoundScape portal,
which help to support basic troubleshooting needs. He also hopes to utilize
SoundScape’s live streaming capabilities in the future, as opposed to the purely
schedule-based configuration of the initial deployment.

“While network connectivity is good, bandwidth remains quite expensive in
Zimbabwe,’ said Sole. “We intend to first utilize live streaming outside of peak
hours, and eventually implement a live radio service for special events. We see a
lot of opportunity to be creative with SoundScape in the future.’