Samsung system tailors ad to its audience

Software can count onlookers and determine gender and age

Samsung has developed an outdoor digital advertising system that tailors ads based on its audience.

There are three main components of the system: an LCD display panel, a dual lens camera and a processing computer, which runs the company's proprietary facial recognition software.

When you first see it the system looks like a vertically oriented LCD display running an advertisement, but upon closer inspection two cameras are mounted on top of the LCD.

They continuously captures images of passersby and the PC processes those images to figure out how many people are in watching, their gender, if they're an adult or child and how long they're looking at the advertisements.

This data serves two purposes: it can gather information about onlookers and be used to tailor the ads to the majority of viewers in the group.

For example, if the technology identifies several female members in a group, then a jewelry, cosmetic, or perfume ad could run, said Samsung. If it were males then shaving products or beer advertisements could be played.

Even if the group is mixed, the technology can identify whether onlookers are children or adults. If they’re adults then maybe a wine ad could run whereas an advertisement for toys might play for kids.

"It's like a survey or research," said Saked Gupta, a software engineer for Samsung. "The [advertiser] wants to do some initial research and they want to figure out... whether [the audience] likes this ad or not."

Gupta worked on the development of the software that runs the system, but wouldn't detail how it distinguishes between men and women or children and adults, citing proprietary information concerns. He said it takes about two seconds to identify the age and gender of the onlooker and will gather data about anyone within a few meters of the cameras.

Samsung plans to release the technology worldwide in November.

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