Billboards of the Future – They will be Watching Us

As we travel down the highway we see one thing or another.  Many of these billboards are produced digitally and printed with grand format devices. Over the years, several of these traditional billboards have been replaced by digital billboards with the benefit that they can easily be changed so a single board could support multiple clients each paying for a time slot.

In December 2016, a smart billboard in Roppongi, Tokyo was installed which employs “deep learning” technology to recognize the makes and models of vehicles driving by and display customized ads specifically suited for drivers.  For example, the system might display eco-friendly products to drivers of hybrid vehicles, cargo carriers for SUV’s, bed liners for pick-up trucks, etc.

The technology is based on Cloudian HyperStore, which relies on algorithms and metadata to generate real-time responses. Cloudian collaborated with Dentsu, Smart Insight, Quanta Cloud Technology Japan, and Intel Japan to develop this revolutionary new system.

Currently, the system recognizes more than 300 vehicle makes and models but it is expected that many more vehicles types will be added in the future. Upon recognizing a vehicle, the system selects one of 25 million stored images to present a customized ad to the driver within 0.5 seconds.  Ads are chosen based on advertiser-set parameters.

The platform also collects real-time data on traffic volume that will be available for use by local government and businesses.

It is expected that this project will be expanded to include other locations in the Tokyo area in 2017.  The basic technology is certainly not limited to billboards so we expect to see similar systems installed in shopping malls, tourist attractions, grocery stores, mass transit, etc.

Profiling human behavior is certainly not new since similar systems have been used for years within the computer/internet industry.  What is different now is that when we are away from our computer, tablet, or smartphone, there will be other intelligence devices (such as billboards), profiling us.

Photizo will continue to monitor and report on new developments in this area.

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