Tuesday, January 12, 2010 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Smart-Sign Technology: Retail Marketing Gets Sophisticated, But Will Regulation Kill It First?

Today I appeared on CNBC [video here and embedded down below] to discuss concerns about emerging "smart-sign" technology, which could give rise to a new generation of interactive retail advertising and marketing efforts. This is in the news because, as Don Clark and Nick Wingfield report today in The Wall Street Journal ("Intel, Microsoft Offer Smart-Sign Technology: Retailers, Product Marketers Could Discern Viewer, Make Choices on What to Display and Transfer Coupons Via Phone"), Intel and Microsoft have announced that:

they will collaborate to help companies create and use new forms of digital signs. By exploiting Intel chips and Microsoft software, the companies hope to bring more interactivity to such devices and help retailers customized marketing offers to consumers.

Signs equipped with cameras and specialized software could recognize the age, gender and height of people in front of them, and tell what products and images received the most attention, the companies said. By gathering information about which messages are more effective, they add, traditional retailers could develop marketing approaches that better counter Web-based competitors. "Every year retailers lose more ground to online [sellers], and they have to do something about that," said Joe Jensen, general manager of Intel's embedded computing division.

Down below, I have jotted down a couple of thoughts about the rise of "digital signage" and more targeted forms of retail marketing, only a few of which I was able to get across in this short TV spot. I think it's an exciting new development for both retailers and consumers for the reasons I explain down below:

posted by Adam Thierer @ 5:52 PM | Advertising & Marketing , Privacy