Customized Billboards Using Bluetooth

This is the place for any magazine-related discussions that don't fit in any of the column discussion boards below.
Post Reply
Newz2000
Posts: 507
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 1:01 am
Location: Des Moines, Iowa, USA
Contact:

Customized Billboards Using Bluetooth

Post by Newz2000 » Wed Sep 13, 2006 11:47 am

So, apparently every bluetooth device has a unique ID that it broadcasts. Other bluetooth devices within several dozen feet (some hackers have extended this to hundreds of feet) can detect this unique ID. (this is all 2nd hand info, I don't have personal experience with this personally)

Apparently, there's a company demonstrating advertising boards in hallways that scan for bluetooth IDs of the passers by and show ads relevant to the person. If there were a whole hallway of these boards, (think underground train station) the advertisement could follow you down the hall and around the corner.

Therefore if you have a bluetooth enabled phone in your pocket, you're advertising a unique signal that can be tracked. While they "guarantee" anonymity, they do admit that they could use bluetooth to tell where you've been (the context of the article is a school, so therefore what lecture halls you've attended) and custom tailor the ads for your interests.

Here's the article from new scientest tech.

Can you imagine how easy it would be to harvest this information and sell it to the highest bidder? Just create little bluetooth enabled data loggers and place them around town... bookstore, best buy, popular restaurants. Heck, you could even plant them in certain areas of stores. For example, plant one in the travel section at the book store and then play ads to them as they walk around town.

An unscruplous person probably wouldn't even ask the store's permission. Just find somewhere with electricity and tuck it discretely away under a shelf or something. Once a week or so, walk by it with a PDA and download the data.

One data logger could cover 800 - 2800 square feet, or for example, using something like this bluetooth module from spark fun (which advertises 100m range) you could cover 28,000 sq ft, or the area of a medium sized grocery store.

User avatar
philba
Posts: 2050
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2004 1:01 am
Location: Seattle
Contact:

Post by philba » Wed Sep 13, 2006 12:29 pm

I don't see why it wouldn't work in the simple case (one sender). The rest is just a database problem... (famous last words) In the case of multiple devices, I'm not sure the results will be defined.

I think the biggest database issue is how you associate a blue tooth id with a profile. certainly when people browse through a store, you can make some assumptions about the person's interests but I'm not sure the merchants would be willing to participate since it is essentially allowing others to market to their customers. Maybe if they get a cut of the ad revenues...

Personally, I would probably not patronize a store that was harvesting that information.

Newz2000
Posts: 507
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 1:01 am
Location: Des Moines, Iowa, USA
Contact:

Post by Newz2000 » Wed Sep 13, 2006 12:52 pm

Just to be clear, I don't think this is a good thing. I'm not usually quick to call a technology bad, because technology is agnostic - its how people use it that makes it good or bad. But this doesn't sound good to me.

User avatar
jwax
Posts: 2200
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:01 am
Location: NY
Contact:

Post by jwax » Wed Sep 13, 2006 3:21 pm

Point is, you won't have a choice. Retailers will pay big bucks to gather profile data on consumers. ABC Corporation comes along with a tracking/logging harvester of customer habits, and bingo! It's in the marketplace and difficult to avoid being scanned.
Ain't technology wonderful?
Next we'll be discussing jamming technology for bluetooth and the rest.
Oops! Opening can of worms.....

User avatar
Chris Smith
Posts: 4325
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Bieber Ca.

Post by Chris Smith » Wed Sep 13, 2006 3:28 pm

Thanks for the sell, now RF shielded covers will be the next big thing.

User avatar
jwax
Posts: 2200
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:01 am
Location: NY
Contact:

Post by jwax » Thu Sep 14, 2006 10:20 am


User avatar
philba
Posts: 2050
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2004 1:01 am
Location: Seattle
Contact:

Post by philba » Thu Sep 14, 2006 2:58 pm

yup, I wouldn't worry about bluetooth. I'd be much more concerned about people reading the rfid smart cards in my wallet.

On the blue tooth issue, I really doubt that this will take off. Few people will volentarily register and connecting BT ids to records in databases will be tricky at best. You know, BT jammers probably would not be illegal.

User avatar
haklesup
Posts: 3037
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2002 1:01 am
Location: San Jose CA
Contact:

Post by haklesup » Thu Sep 14, 2006 5:30 pm

Few people will volentarily register and connecting BT ids to records in databases will be tricky at best.
But we already have those stupid supermarket cards we need to get the good prices. Many people are not afraid to be casually tracked if the benefit is discounts and saved money. The cost of the Ad revinue whould need to exceed the cost of the hardware and location rites.

Bluetooth is seemingly slow to be adopted anyway, only the heavily connected seem to have appliances. There is not a killer app the rest of us need yet. All I know is if you see a guy with a Bluetooth earpiece at the airport, stay away or you will have to listen to him yell at the damn thing.

Jammers will be illegal if only by virtue of FCC rules

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 33 guests