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Last Updated: Friday, 25 August 2006, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
Interview with Alasdair Scott
Filter Worldwide's Chief Creative Officer's Alasdair Scott
Alisdair Scott gives his vision of the future
BBC Click's Spencer Kelley spoke to Alasdair Scott, creative director of Filter Worldwide, an advertising agency which uses Bluetooth technology to market its clients' products. Spencer asked him how the future looked from his perspective.

SPENCER: So I am walking along the street and I am walking past poster after poster that is Bluetooth activated and every single one "pings" my phone to see if I want to take part in that competition or whatever, that sounds a bit of a nightmare to me.

ALASDAIR: Well the way you say it does make it sound a little like the Minority Report. The fact is the current Bluetooth installations are quite few.

They tend to be prime sites - meaning sites where you find lots of people, be it Times Square in Manhattan or major airports or railway stations.

SPENCER: Now I've been telling people for years not to accept Bluetooth connections to their phones from people or things that they don't know, because you could be downloading a programme which is a virus or certainly malicious and something definitely that you do not want.

Surely this kind of campaign flies in the face of all the security principles that we have been taught?

ALASDAIR: I think it is really down to the environment which the content is being sent.

So for example, in public spaces - which are very uncontrolled environments - we tend to send out just pure content, so be it a still image file or an mp3 audio clip or a video file and then the phone's built-in software does the playback.

In controlled environments, it could be a conference, it could be inside someone's corporate headquarters where you know that the only people going to be there are "friendly people" then there would be an option to send java applications.

SPENCER: So how close are we to the Tom Cruise Minority Report scenario where we can be individually identified maybe by the id in our phone and the advert will be targeted specifically to us, and they know our spending habits because it is all on some huge database somewhere?

ALASDAIR: Well the Minority Report was a very visionary bit of film, but unfortunately it glossed over the key thing about tracking users, which is you need some kind of mechanic to do that. In Minority Report I think it was iris scanning.

SPENCER: Well I am going to suggest the individual identification number in a mobile phone which we know is linked to a certain person.

ALASDAIR: It's technically possible. It is technically possible to track lots of people using lots of processes. The thing is the shear amount of computing power required to do it.

SPENCER: I don't believe you. I get mail through my door based on what I've spent down the supermarket. What I've bought is logged on my loyalty card. The technology exists and it is not huge.

ALASDAIR: The technology in the online world is probably a good indication of where it is going to go with "out-of-home" and mobile.

The key difference being, in order to target a consumer down the road with a phone, you first have either extract the phone number or extract the Bluetooth id code from them, which requires their permission to do that...

SPENCER:...Which you do because that is how you stop "pinging" a phone that has already rejected you.

ALASDAIR: That is correct. But then there is a lot of network traffic back to centralised databases to work out "oh that's Spencer and he's in Camden and he's standing in front of a record shop, therefore we should send [saying] go-on by this new album".

That process works when you are in a supermarket or by your web browser because you are physically there. The problem is when you are talking to people on the street they may have then walked off.



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