The iconic, Spielberg science fiction film Minority Report set us up for this one nearly a decade ago. But right now, a new billboard technology is being tested in Japan that recognizes who’s looking at it and delivers a personalized message that’s suitable to the reader.
OK, it’s not the film’s iris recognition of year 2054 delivering ads to the Tom Cruise character by name. But NEC, a Japanese electronics firm, uses a facial-recognition technology to quickly scan faces, detect the age (within about 10 years) and gender of mall shoppers, and present “demographic-appropriate” ads for people it "sees."
Another application was tested this summer with the same biometric technology connected to vending machines. The sensors and display on the vending machine recommend a beverage purchase that’s suitable to your age range and gender.
Other companies are testing gender-aware technology in US locations. It's a new level of sophistication for outdoor advertising. And it could become a useful tool in the highly personalized message-making of healthcare marketing and advertising.
And by the way, the technology can record and transmit metrics of how many people (by age and gender) are looking, for how long, and even how close they were to the message board. (Just the numbers, they say; not the pictures.)
As the adage goes: "If you're talking to everyone, you're talking to no one."