void that sees advertisers unable to measure engagement with audiences.
Seriously? We're supposed to be "engaged" with ads? There's so much going on where most billboards are that they usually get ignored with the rest of the background clutter.
Privacy sell-out Yahoo! has filed patents for roadside billboards outfitted with biometric spy cameras and microphones to collect data from passers-by. The NSA's bed warmer described a billboard that contained video and audio collection capabilities, and even retina scans and speech recognition to determine what viewers are …
FTA: "Sensors in the billboards would determine if pedestrians slow their pace or if drivers ease the gas to rubber neck at the so-called "smart billboards"."
Translating actions like that into advertising effectiveness is quite a leap. Will the billboard be able to realise if vehicles are slowing down for other reasons like traffic?
The other year there were bus stop adverts for a fruity soft drink that were quite amusing. Once or twice I did slow down to read them, chuckle, then I just carried on but I've never bought that brand of drink. Back in the day I used to find those adverts for cigars amusing (the ones with baldy man in them) but I've never smoked. I suspect this kind of feedback will be as much use as that from the creepy on line tracking done by Google et al, "You've just bought a toaster - look at all these other toasters".
Oh and El Reg are on form with stuff like this: "Privacy sell-out Yahoo!...", "The NSA's bed warmer..." and "The P0wnage Palace...". Please keep hammering home how rotten Yahoo is, in case there's anyone who doesn't yet know.
" if drivers ease the gas to rubber neck at the so-called "smart billboards" "
Waiting for the first case where the driver of a rear-ended vehicle sues the advertising company for purposefully distracting drivers... Making an intentional distraction like that has to be against so many laws.
I emailed my local legislative critters about a year ago. Some jerkwad had come up with the idea of placing full window-sized LCD panels in the rear windows of vehicles to show rotating adverts. Hyper distracting as it was BRIGHT and directly in the traffic lane field of vision. Long and short - the business got shut down by the DOT for making devices that created a safety hazard
Side note : The most amusing advert running on the jerkwad's display did make me contact State Farm Insurance - to point out how stupid one of their auto insurance agents was for advertising in a way that was dangerously distracting and how it was likely to result in increased claims.
This should possibly be thrown out due to prior art, this idea was used in the film Minority Report where a holographic add used a retinal scan to identify customers. In this case incorrectly as he had an eye transplant to avoid detection. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhpCu-ZJiu4
Record the ones who slow down to take their eyes off the road and stare at a billboard. Doubly so if it's an "active" billboard that requires more than happy glance to parse the information advertised.
Then watch sue-happy America let loose against this tech as they claim the billboard "forced" them to stop watching what they were going. Records from the data slurping will be used against the advertisers in the courts.
End result: no more billboards (we can hope)
"But while these billboards represent a step in the direction of the digital age, they lag far behind their online counterparts in a number of respects," Yahoo! says in its patent application.
Well just like online, we are going to have to come up with ad blockers for billboards now.
Billboards obviously come under the realm of IoT and so we all know how easy they'll be to hack. How about loading them up throughout the land to recognise the faces of Tory ministers and MPs and show them a graphic goatse advert or something? (I'd suggest something useful like illustrated appeals for Syrian refugees, but I suspect they'd be totally wasted). And can they recognise numberplates on ministerial limos?