Activation-Ad works on beacon technology that is compatible with Bluetooth Low Energy short-range communications, which allows it to connect to users within 10 metres. It works on a small transmitter that can be stuck on posters and in-store ads.
Hakuhodo’s tool pushes customized promotional messages to a user as they approach an ad on the street, enter a store or simply are in proximity of the product. For instance, a brand like Starbucks could use the technology to deploy messages to people who pass its stores and have its app installed.
The app also allows marketers to collect data such as time, location, frequency and reaction to the message.
According to Hakuhodo, many applications are dormant and the challenge is to give such apps a new lease on life. “Activation-Ad enables you to prompt users to access them and rescues dormant apps from obscurity and turns them into valuable assets,” a press statement said.
The just-launched product is currently being promoted in Japan. According to a spokesperson, at any given time, consumers in Japan possess 36 apps on their smartphones, of which only eight are actively used. “This service is quite useful for reactivating ‘sleeping apps’.”
The product has captured the interest of drink and food manufacturers, supermarket chains, drug stores, and medical-equipment companies, the spokesperson claims.
Increasingly agencies are investing in technology innovation. VML Labs came out with a GPS surf watch, co-created with Surf brand Rip Curl that records the number, speed and location of waves a surfer catches. Dentsu was responsible for developing some of the core technology for Honda’s Internavi car navigation system. It also introduced the Asoberu-T, a shirt that users can scan with a smartphone app, triggering interactive music or video content.
More recently, JWT Singapore and women’s rights organisation Aware launched the Guardian Angel, a device that helps women combat harassment and alert their emergency contacts. Designed in the shape of a halo, Guardian Angel can be worn as a necklace or a bracelet. A woman can trigger a call to her own phone during an uncomfortable moment by clicking on the pendant. If she senses a threat to her personal safety, she can hold the button for three seconds to send an SOS text message to a designated number. The text message provides coordinates and a Google Map link to her location. The technology is on the shortlist in the Innovation category at Cannes 2014.