Last month, Samsung put up a massive 262-foot tall and 131-foot wide billboard in Moscow, Russia. The LED billboard, which features the company's flagship Galaxy S7 edge smartphone, can be spotted from as far as the city's Gidroproekt building, which is 2.2 kilometers away from the site.
A new kind of billboard in Japan, while not as big as the one put up by Samsung in Moscow, is much more technologically advanced, and could signal the future of the advertising medium.
Cloudian, a smart data storage company, and Dentsu, a Japanese advertising agency, have teamed up to launch smart billboards in the Asian country. The billboards will be able to identify the make and model of vehicles that are driving by, and will use the information to display advertisements targeted to the drivers and passengers of these vehicles.
"The ad could come up with 'Hey you in the Mercedes, you could be driving this [instead],'" said Cloudian Chief Marketing Officer Paul Turner.
The vehicle recognition system was tested by Cloudian and Dentsu earlier this year, and it showed excellent results. Through the combination of deep learning and big data, the system was able to correctly identify the make and model of vehicles in traffic at a 94 percent rate.
The system was prepared by feeding its smart data storage system with pictures of used cars. There were as many as 4,000 images per make, model and year of vehicles. The system's programmers then repeated the process for no less than 200 vehicles, which is the number of vehicles that the system is able to correctly identify.
A camera located on the billboard is capable of looking hundreds of meters away to begin identifying oncoming vehicles. Once the make and model are identified, the billboard will then present an advertisement corresponding to the vehicle for around 5 seconds.
The advertisements will be targeted specifically at the types of vehicles that the system identifies. For example, older vehicles may trigger advertisements of the latest model of the same car, while truck drivers might be shown advertisements for trucker-friendly resting stops.
The smart billboard system, which will see its first one put up in Tokyo by early fall, expands the practice of highly targeted advertising into what was previously a mostly static medium. Such practice has been used by companies such as Google and Facebook to display relevant advertisements to users of their platforms, and Cloudian and Dentsu are looking to do the same thing with these smart billboards.