Advertisers have always been on top of the latest technological developments and innovations. As soon as a new technology arrives, advertisers are quick to get involved and use it for commercial purposes.
The internet is a good example, with internet advertising now commonplace but one area where advertisers have really got involved in a big way is the use of modern TV devices such as plasma or LCD screens as digital signage.
From outdoor digital signage along the high streets, to indoor screens erected in shops, retail parks and shopping malls. Digital advertising has become an incredibly fast growing industry.
And as more and more developments and innovations come along, advertisers are keen to take advantage to keep them one step ahead of the competition.
One such technology being trialled in Japan is the use of facial recognition with digital signage. At the moment, developers hope to be able to target different sexes with tailored adverts but the future possibilities are quite incredible:
With such technology it may be possible for advertisers to identify individuals and advertisements could then be targeted depending on past sales or experiences; buy a particular product from a store and advertisers may be able to promote similar or connected items whenever you pass one of their facial recognition screens.
And if this sounds a bit like science fiction you would not be wrong with such technologies having been used in Philip K Dick’s short story Minority Report and the Spielberg film of the same name.
And while, the potential of such technologies certainly has its use for advertisers and consumers alike, it does pose some questions regarding civil liberties.
Suppose you happen to buy a surprise gift for your wife, only to have similar products flashed up on screen when you are shopping together – it would certainly ruin the surprise (And possibly your marriage if the gift wasn’t actually for your wife).
And with the potential of so much data on our shopping habits being stored by commercial organisations – there could be real issues in safeguarding this information – which could be extremely valuable to other commercial organisations, criminals and the state.