Picture a digital advertisement that is able to recognize your gender and display products that your peer group would wear for that time of day, and that day’s weather. You and your friends are able to pick the items you like and move them to the shopping cart using the ad’s touchscreen interface. While this may sound a lot like Minority Report, companies are in fact working on delivering intelligent, multi-touch, multi-user digital signs in high traffic environments like retail stores, airports and hotels. One such red hot company is Immersive Labs, who unveiled their technology at TechStars NYC ‘s Demo Day.
So how does it really work? Immersive’s software uses face detection to recognize the viewer’s gender and uses both macro level factors such as time of day and weather, as well as more individual attributes such as age, attention span and size of group to serve up the most relevant ads. This intelligent ad software analyses and learns in mili-seconds to serve a personalized ad experience in real time. The touchscreen interface allows multiple viewers to interact with the ads making it a high conversion touchpoint. The idea first came to Immersive CEO, Jason Sosa, in 2006 while eating at a Shanghai restaurant with an interactive floor projection system that would respond to visitors’ body movements. Jason and co-founders Alessio Signorini and Chris Piekarski took this premise to the next level while participating in TechStars’ coveted NYC program. They also showcased an Immersive-enabled billboard at Sony style store in NYC and are now preparing to pilot it at JFK Airport with Hudson News and Keo.
In answer to concerns about privacy, Sosa clarifies that the company does not record personally identifiable information and is a lot less intrusive than say Google or Facebook.
This is not the first time that companies have attempted to make the real world more like the online world. In an innovative and fun example, a pet food company in Germany launched a SnackCheck – a billboard that spits out pet food if users check-in at the location on Foursquare because after all “the dog commands the owner.” What’s next?