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Minority Report
System uses a camera to tailor ads to gender and age

One of the reasons that advertisers like to advertise on the internet is because they know exactly how many people their ads reach and know if the ads entice the surfer to click and buy. Ads that advertisers place in malls and on billboards lack the luxury of knowing who is looking at the ad.

Engineers form NEC in Japan have created a new advertising system for use in public areas like malls and airports that is remarkable similar to the advertising system that was in the Steven Spielberg film “Minority Report”. In the film, as Tom Cruise walks past holographic ads in a mall, they recognize him and use his name to offer things like a cold beer or a new car.

The system -- called the Next Generation Digital Signage Solution -- NEC has developed won’t know who the person walking by or viewing the ad is, but it will use a system that can determine the gender and age of a person within ten years. The age and gender data will be used to tailor the ads shown to the specific person watching in hopes that the ads are more effective.

Some critics are already complaining that NEC's system is an invasion of privacy. NEC maintains that people viewing the ads would remain anonymous and images of their face would be deleted. The NEC system features a small camera and a flat screen that captures an image of the person as they walk by. The longer the person views the ad, the more accurate the advertising is said to be for the person.

NEC's Takeshi Yamamoto said, "For digital signage that relies on generating revenue by selling advertising, there has always been a need for advertising agencies to know who is watching." He also states that several advertising companies are interested in the system already. The NEC system is expected to get a trial run in America later in 2010 and if the trial is successful, the technology will be used all around the world.

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This could be quite effective for certain products
By borowki2 on 3/11/2010 12:26:38 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know how accurately the computer can judge a person's age or even gender. What should be easy to determine is whether he is overweight. Imagine a fat person approaches an advertisement. It might be showing a supermodel in fashionable clothes. Suddenly it changes into an ad for a weight loss program. Or exercise machine. Or liposuction. Now imagine every single ad in the mall does this. What would the person think? "I'm not good enough to even look at beautiful people because I'm fat!" In this manner he'd be shamed into doing something about his weight.

By chagrinnin on 3/11/2010 1:07:29 PM , Rating: 2
Rrrriiiiight,...because shame sells,....sea shells at the she store. :P

By abel2 on 3/11/2010 2:47:42 PM , Rating: 2
More likely they'll be offended and embarrassed and never shop there again.

Advertisers don't want to frighten off potential customers in any way, so the ads will be hugely broad-based on their age and gender. Now as video detection gets to be more precise and accurate you may see ads develop like amazon's personalized recommendations, etc.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads
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