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How advertisers can beam coupons from TV to a smartphone

Posting in Technology

Fujitsu Laboratories has developed technology which can embed and send data via video transmission.

In what could become a new channel for companies to advertise and promote their goods and services, Fujitsu has created a method for embedding digital information -- including coupons or URLs -- into video streams. The technology, which is patent-pending, can send video data directly to a smartphone up to three meters away, apparently without impacting image quality.

The technology giant explained how this works in an overview of the project (.pdf):

"Our technology adds many tiny points of light into a video. By increasing or decreasing the number of lights, the brightness of the video is changed gradually. Our technology controls the number of lights and cause two types of brightness changes in it. One of the changes represents embedding '0' and the other is embedding '1'. Thus, we are embedding some digital information into the video. Furthermore the brightness changes slowly and smoothly, so the changes are invisible to the human eye."

According to Fujitsu, no additional equipment is needed to embed the digital information, and it works on conventional televisions and smartphones. To pick up data, a consumer needs to point their smartphone at a commercial -- the reasoning behind such technology being that by lessening the effort an individual has to spend to obtain information, the more likely you are as a business to make a sale.

The technology was originally intended for commercial applications including secure communication, ecommerce and broadcasting. However, the firm believe that if the technology proves viable, it is more likely to capture the hearts of marketing executives looking for new ways to engage with their customers.

It could also be a way for programs to link to associated campaigns or social media pages -- removing the Google-search step after the show is finished if an individual is interested.

Perhaps in the future we will be making travel reservations or purchasing goods by pointing at the television screen -- if, of course, we choose not to skip the ads and make a cup of coffee instead.

Image credit: Fujitsu Laboratories

— By on October 16, 2012, 9:00 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure