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Filter - August 2014

The Future of Display Banners (Part 2)

If you read Part 1 of this article, then you know that we have finally reached the point where normal display banners no longer have to be built in Flash. Thanks to the recent launch of DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM), we finally have the option to publish standard, IAB-type banners using HTML5. Up until now, HTML5 banners were required to be trafficked as Rich Media, which was complicated and costly.

But how do you build these HTML5 banners? And once they are built how do they get trafficked?

The basic spec for DCM HTML banner is the following:

  • The banner consists of HTML, CSS, Images and JavaScript
  • All files get packaged in a single .adz file, which is simply a .zip file with a new extension
  • Maximum upload size of the .adz file is 450MB, and there is a max of 10 files
  • Each banner can only have one clickTag; all other links must be hard-coded
  • There is an option for flexible dimensions, which creates the possibility of responsive ads

So at the simplest level each banner is basically a very small micro-site that magically becomes a banner when placed on a publisher's website. But you probably do not want the banner to just be a static message. You want it to animate in a "Flashy" way. Display banners usually have 2-3 frames that build smoothly as well as a resolve-frame and a CTA. You might even want a scrolling ISI. Here is where the tech gets a bit trickier.

There are many different ways to animate HTML. Here are few:

  • CSS3 transitions
  • JQuery animations
  • Greensock Animation Platform (GSAP)
  • Tween.js
  • Adobe Edge Animate

Each of these methods has unique advantages and disadvantages. CSS3, for example, is light-weight but only allows you to do very simple animation. The challenge becomes balancing animation complexity with K size restrictions. Unfortunately, JQuery—the darling of the JavaScript libraries—requires too much K for most banners. We have had the most luck so far using the Tween.js library. It has a very small K size and has good performance. We have been able to create banners that are almost identical to their Flash counterparts.

One other tool of note from the list about is Adobe Edge Animate. Edge Animate is Adobe's attempt to provide a Flash-like authoring experience to the world of HTML5. It provides a familiar motion-graphics toolkit including timeline tweening and a re-usable library of symbols. Unfortunately, the product is still not fully mature and has not been suitable so far for banner creation.

When it comes time to traffic, all the required files are placed in an .adz file. The file is then trafficked through DCM in a similar manner as a .swf would be trafficked. There are, however, a few additional considerations for the trafficker, most notably:

  • The trafficker has to set "feature dependencies" for each banner in order to allow for browsers that do not support various features of HTML5
  • The trafficker has to set the banner dimensions, and has the option to use flexible dimensions

Hopefully this overview of building HTML5 banners for DCM has made the process clearer. GTO is excited to move beyond Flash for large-scale display campaigns.

-Steve Longbons, Partner, Technology

Bio-printing: A New Future for Healthcare

In the early 1980s, the first working 3D printer was designed by Chuck Hull. In 1999, the first lab grown bladder was successfully implanted in a human recipient at Boston Children’s hospital. Today, we are on the brink of 3D printing functional human organs (a process referred to as bio-printing) for transplant, which has groundbreaking implications for the future of healthcare.

3D printing is the process of creating a physical object from a three-dimensional digital blueprint by laying down many successive thin layers of a material. Typically, different kinds of plastic are used in most applications of 3D printing. When it comes to bio-printing, a material akin to a biological ink is used. This “biological ink” is created by taking human cells and letting them multiply in Petri dishes with the assistance of a growth medium. The accumulated cells are then fed into a cartridge in a 3D printer along with another cartridge filled with a material for structural support, most commonly a hydrogel, the 3D printer is programmed to recreate the precise shape of the desired tissue and begins by printing a thin layer of the support material, followed by a layer of cells. This layering continues until the shape of the tissue is complete, at which point the tissue is left to mature and the support material is removed.

While scientists have been experimenting with bio-printing for several years now, the larger, more complex organs like the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys have yet to be printed such that they are fully functional and transplant ready. One of the bigger barriers to reaching this point has been understanding how to get 3D printed tissue to survive on its own. In the past couple of months a major breakthrough was made in this area as scientists were able to bio-print capillaries, the small blood vessels that bring nutrients and oxygen to cells and allow them to sustain themselves. With this barrier broken, many scientists are predicting the first bio-printed transplantable organs will be achievable within the next decade.

The idea of being able to print functional human organs for transplant on command has wide ranging implications for our healthcare industry. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the United Network for Organ Sharing as of August 2014 there were 123,244 people on the waiting list for an organ transplant in the U.S. That same source has 18 people dying each day they wait for a transplant. The number of lives alone that bio-printing organs could save makes this technology worth pursuing. Related is the implication this technology would have on the field of transplant medicine itself. The number of transplants each day could surge dramatically the moment this technology comes to fruition, and if the organs we create can be made from the cells of the person who is receiving the organ, transplant rejection could become less of a complication.

Bio-printing organs for transplant may be several years away, but advancements are being made constantly. The possibilities for this technology, as well as the implications it has for healthcare, are exciting.

-GTO Search

Where We're Going

Medtech Vision 2014: Medtech in the Digital Age
Menlo Park, CA
September 9, 2014

ePharma Summit West
San Francisco, CA
September 22-24, 2014

Where We've Been

Rock Health: Health Innovation Summit
San Francisco, CA
August 21-22, 2014