From Forbes.com Docomo's New Marketing Tool Uses Camera Phones, Unaltered Ads "
I knew it was just a matter of time before this happened.
NTT DoCoMo Inc. (TSE:9437) has developed a marketing tool that uses camera phones and a proprietary image recognition technique to enable a person to snap a photo of a printed ad or an outdoor signboard and receive coupons from the advertiser or link to an Internet site for more information.
Advertising linked to 2-D barcodes and digital watermarks has already been introduced as marketing tools that take advantage of Internet-capable camera phones. But DoCoMo's new system is more versatile, since nothing special needs to be done to the ad. In fact, the system can accommodate existing ads. Consumers do not have to worry about angle and alignment when snapping pictures and can even aim at faraway signboards atop buildings.
To use the system, consumers must download special software to their phones. The advertiser must have a server that stores a database of ads and a personal computer that manages the delivery of coupons and advertising information to consumers.
When a consumer shoots a photo of an ad or signboard, the phone-based software divides the image into blocks, calculates the color components of each block, and then sends this data to the server. The server compares the data against its database of pre-registered images to find a match