Advertising Screen Tailors Ads To Its Audience

The new scientist reports on this nifty out-of-home advertising system:

A smart advertising display monitors Bluetooth gadgets in its vicinity, ensuring audiences see only the most appropriate ads, with minimal repeats.

The display detects the presence of devices fitted with Bluetooth wireless transmitters carried by people walking past, such as cellphones and PDAs. Software agents then "bid" against one another to determine which adverts are then shown to those viewers.

A prototype system called BluScreen has been installed in a corridor in the school of Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton University in the UK. The 58-centimetre-wide screen displays a mix of alerts about upcoming seminars, news items from the university’s website and video streams of departmental lectures.

As each passing device has a unique Bluetooth signal, this enables the screen to identify different individuals passing by. It builds a record of the adverts those people have been previously been shown to make sure messages are not repeated.

This is interesting, but I would hope there’s a way for the audience member to turn off his profile without completely disabling his Bluetooth functionality. Also, what does the audience member get in return for emitting his personal data in the first place? Finally, are the telecom companies involved, who typically have a service connection to  mobile and smartphones providing the Bluetooth signal? I don’t fully trust their intentions or ability to manage my personal data.


Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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