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Big Brother + Multimedia Advertising = “Minority Report”

Written by Gary North on May 17, 2012

If you saw the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report, you may recall the scene when he goes into a shopping mall, and ads talk at him personally. Also, the authorities could track anyone.

This was police surveillance paid for by advertising.

It’s coming, folks. I read it in a press release.

Press releases are designed to persuade news outlets to promote, free of charge, some new product.

They are usually written by low-level employees who need work on their communications skills.

Hardly anyone readers press releases. They fill space. But sometimes a press release reveals information that reporters miss. This is such a case.

This press release tells of new technology: surveillance cameras that talk to people on the street. This is promoted as great for advertising. Maybe it is.

FAIRFIELD, N.J., May 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Amerlux has partnered with Illuminating Concepts and IntelliStreets to create the SmartSite state of the art LED street lighting and network control system.

I like the phrase, “network control system.” But who is going to be controlled?

The person who wrote the press release jammed it with verbiage. Few people will ever read it. But I read it. A word popped out at me: bi-directional. That means two-way. As in “we’ll be watching you.”

SmartSite™, powered by IntelliStreets, is the world’s most technically advanced street lighting system which integrates energy efficient LED lighting technology with a robust, bi-directional mesh network control system that manages lighting, audio, video and energy usage throughout urban, suburban and college environments.

Another phrase grabbed my attention: homeland security features.

Operating effectively without cable installation, underground trenching or wire maintenance to set-up the control of the outdoor lighting, sound and video, SmartSite is a 24/7 area-wide system that offers architectural luminaire styles, a robust platform, digital wireless solutions, Wi-Fi capabilities, and a myriad of homeland security features.

Buyers get “a myriad” of these homeland security features. That means “a whole lot.”

Janis Joplin started out as the lead singer for Big Brother and the Holding Company. The band’s name seems altogether relevant for what’s coming.

SmartSite luminaires can be equipped with a variety of cameras and sensors to ensure real-time 24/7-security coverage. The sensors detect a variety of threats that enable rapid response from emergency personnel or help prevent crime and gain control of the streets. Using LED technology, the luminaires provide consistent light dispersal, backed by a centralized remote control of lighting, signage and audio messaging that allow pedestrians to be ushered quickly and safely to the nearest route during storm warnings, events or emergencies.

Some groups are most interested in how the same components that facilitate communication in normal times can switch instantly to providing two-way emergency communications. “Blue-light” emergency communications buttons similar to those found on college campuses can allow individuals to call for help, while the built-in speaker can broadcast emergency information. The digital street sign and/or banner system can provide emergency evacuation routes. Optional built-in sensors can detect rising floodwaters, biological and radiological hazards and relay that information to command centers.

Using SmartSite, powered by IntelliStreets, locally in real-time can have very positive impacts for the public during major natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, or even terrorist attacks. Localized voice messages can relay the real information that people need to know about the emergency and any action needed to be taken. Instead of relying upon cellular facilities that could be disabled, a mesh network can route around obstacles and still transmit low-bandwidth communications.

The system also links into the Amber Alert Center, the emergency response system that disseminates information about missing persons, usually children, and enlists the public’s help to find them and catch their abductors.

SmartSite is perfectly suited for installation in retail malls, sports venues, on college campuses, and in new construction. A full Activity-Based Costing analysis that would also factor in issues such as more efficient traffic routing during road repairs, special events and emergencies would further strengthen the argument for retrofitting. As the cost of the individual components comes down through economies of scale, the SmartSite system might well become commonplace.

In the meantime, the system will pay for itself.

SmartSite offers a nearly unlimited array of digital advertising opportunities that represents a paradigm shift in which a traditional streetlight is transformed into a 21st-century scaffolding for which a wide variety of communication tools can be posted. Digital ad companies will be available to provide LED banner ads on the street poles to help generate advertising revenue and achieve a greater return on investment more quickly and easily. Using both video and audio advertising messages, businesses can promote brands, municipalities and civic organizations can promote events, and organizations can post a variety of public service announcements and spots.

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3 thoughts on “Big Brother + Multimedia Advertising = “Minority Report”

  1. sean murry says:

    To hell with big brother.

  2. Truth is stranger than fiction: Also, note in the Amerlux video, the woman proudly announces their inception date: 1984 – I don’t think I cod make this stuff up, if I tried…

  3. waynesalhany says:

    Some of the terminology is technobabble. Other words have very specialized meaning to a techie. Read carefully.