User Controlled Ad Displays Via iPhone

Shortly after someone invented the cell phone, some other entrepreneurs developed the term mobile commerce. You can't blame them, as there would seem to be something compelling about tying doing business to a device that so many keep with them more religiously than their wallets. There have even been expanding efforts to let people buy merchandise in stores using their own handsets. And, of course, there's online advertising, after which Google and others lust. Now there's a new twist: using an smartphones iPhone to control an interactive merchandising display (via Engadget).

CBS Outdoor is working with Clustra, a digital advertising and marketing agency, to create a new technology platform, currently developed for the iPhone. Using either Wi-Fi or 3G, someone with an iPhone could move the handset around, much like a controller for the Nintendo Wii. As you move the iPhone about and use some of the gesture interfaces, the product image on display will rotate, expand, or contract.

Given that it could work on either of the two communications technologies, I'd imagine that here are some of the potential uses:

  • a compelling digital point-of-sale product display, particularly for a higher-end product that is safely locked in a cabinet
  • digital signage that could let people choose something from a menu and then display what was requested
  • interactive video product demos
Of course, the truly scary application would be allowing people at a distance to control the display of an outdoor billboard. Can you imagine the pileups as drivers electronically fight in a virtual tug-of-war over the image?

Demonstration image via Campaign.