Government approves plans for billboards that scan shoppers and show tailor adverts to suit them

December 19, 2012 | by | 0 Comments

Boffins have developed new interactive advertising billboards – which SCAN passers-by then show adverts tailored to them.

The revolutionary billboards would detect information from the public and select the type of advert they are most likely to be interested in.

Women pushing prams would be shown adverts for childcare products, whereas young men will face images of grooming products or gadgets.

The technology – which appeared in sci-fi thriller Demolition Man – is being developed in real life with Government funding.

In future, shoppers may be bombarded with personalised adverts as they walk along the high street

The boards are being developed by the University of the West of England’s Machine Vision Lab in Bristol and tech company Aralia Systems Ltd.

Professor Mel Smith, director of the lab, denied the ads will be more evidence of a ‘Big Brother’ society.

He said: “The aim is to detect basic human demographic information such as age and gender, together with behaviour such as head movements, and how long people are looking at an advert, for use in targeted marketing campaigns..

”This technology will not recognise individuals, and all image data will be treated as metadata – this means it will be used for analysis but not stored.

“This project is ahead of the current state-of-the-art – but is timely in addressing a market where technological changes are rapidly taking place.”

Aralia Systems Publicist Eleanor Wright added: “The longer someone looks at an ad, the more information pops up.

“For example, the technology could look for groups of young people who might be interested in nightclub ads or families who would like to find out about local attractions.

“Consumers won’t be pestered – this automatically gathered information would be used to intelligently adapt advertising content to something relevant to them and so reduce the existing barrage of irritating irrelevant advertising.”

The 18-month project is funded by the government’s Technology Strategy Board, which aims to make Britain a world-leader in future business-led innovation and technology.

In the Sylvester Stallone film Demolition Man, consumers in 2032 are greeted by adverts that speak to them and offer a personalised shopping experience.

Category: Tech

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