Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Interactive Ad Techniques, off the Internet

I've always been a fan of getting online advertising techniques offline. That is, taking the notion of meta-data and interactivity and bringing it into the real world. The problem, of course, is that the offline world is analog, right? It's pretty hard to be dynamic and flexible--the way you can online.

One particular technology is beginning to change that: Radio Frequency Identification or RFID. The idea is essentially placing very small, low power, low frequency chips on all sorts of things. These chips broadcast data about themselves. Smart devices can pick up these signals and do stuff with them.

What sort of stuff? Well, anything, really. Whatever you can do with data. MIT's ad lab is reporting on a dressing room that knows what you've brought in and offers fashion advice, via a touch screen.

To make things more interesting, HP announced that they've cut the size of these things down to a little dot. That means that they can be stuck anywhere. Or, potentially, one thing could have a bunch of them. A car in the showroom could have one on the dash, one under the hood, one on the stickshift and five in the cupholder.

As the data becomes available, you can imagine an API that would let people's imagination begin to run. What sorts of mashups could you imagine, based on all the data inside of a shopping cart?

Shopping and researching online has certainly raised our expectations for the real world. This sort of innovation definitely helps development along. Are there privacy issues? Naturally. But I imagine that honest retailers will navigate these in a way that doesn't offend its customer base.
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Blogger owen said...

did you see this article in the new yorker a month or two ago? about "taggers", people who implant rfid tags (meant for livestock) under their skin and then set up things (doors, computers, etc.) that respond only to them? pretty cool, a very geek way. a new subculture??

3:10 PM  

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