Smart ad displays

So I was standing at the Chatswood station, listening to songs and minding my own business, when my gaze fell upon one of those gigantic tv displays playing an advertisement for a random surfing channel. At the same time, Spotify with its annoying yet brilliant form of targeted advertising, started playing  a commercial about Bond university. This got me thinking, the amount of capital these companies spend for these digital billboards on the station must be enormous, yet it doesn’t have a specific target audience. I mean, if you are a company that creates an anti-aging cream, you wouldn’t want your ad to be played at a time and location where the majority of the audience is 18-25-year-olds, right?

There’s a very simple solution to this issue, though.  Imagine a display smart enough to connect with your phone and find out your preferences, likes, dislikes and displays an ad, specifically for you.

Planning on taking up running? A Nike ad plays at the mall! Looking to buy a new laptop? a Dell ad is to be seen everywhere! Interested in pop music? Get the latest Katy Perry album at 20% off!

With the amount of metadata that our phones have been collecting from us, all it takes is an AI smart enough to filter it and we have a system that can recognise the likes,  dislikes, brand loyalty and brand preference of pretty much every individual on the planet! How is that for target advertising?

Although this technology raises a few questions in the privacy and ethical departments but you have to admit that just a few years down the road, maybe two, maybe five, we’ll be looking at smart, personalised billboards that will change displays based off of your likes and dislikes, sent from your phones.




customising my dialler for smartphones

Last few days I had few messages which had phone number in them, none of them were in the format which the default dialler of the phone could understand and dial the number.

Then starts a tussle between remembering the number and typing into the dialler or using notepad where you convert the number into a proper country format and then copy the number and paste into the dialler.

Its incredible that its such a common problem and almost everyone faces it, still no one has solved it. The solution is pretty simple as well, use a library like libphone which converts a raw phone number into canonical phone number based on rules. Also the phone is aware of its MCC & MNC hence we can easily convert the raw phone numbers into canonical. Most of the apps when they ask phone number they do a similar task to normalize the phone numbers.

Once this task is done, then its easy to pass the appropriate number to the dialler which can immediately make the call without any fiddling.

Obviously there would be cases where the normal rules would not fit and you still would have to make changes to phone number but that should be rare.

The biggest challenge is to get something done like this on iOS which is a closed ecosphere, you cant change the dialler or do some smart things while you open the dialler app. On the other hand Android should be pretty straight forward.

Hopefully after reading this blog a smart engineer with some spare time, develops this utility 🙂