WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Verizon has filed a patent for targeting ads that collect information from infrared cameras and microphones that can detect the amount of people and types of conversations happening in customers’ living rooms. The set-top box technology is not the first of its kind – Comcast patented similar monitoring technology in 2008 that recommended content to users based on people it recognized in the room. Google TV also proposed a patent that would use video and audio recorders to figure out exactly how many people in a room were watching its broadcast.
Verizon filed for the application in May 2011, but the report was published last week due to laws stating that all patent applications be published after 18 months.
FierceCable first publicized the Verizon patent that gives examples of the DVR’s acute sensitivity in customers’ living rooms: argument sounds prompt ads for marriage counseling, and sounds of “cuddling” prompt ads for contraceptives.
“If detection facility detects one or more words spoken by a user (e.g., while talking to another user within the same room or on the telephone), advertising facility may utilize the one or more words spoken by the user to search for and/or select an advertisement associated with the one or more words,” Verizon states in the patent application. Users are also given the option to link their smartphones and tablets to the detection system to directly increase its sensitivity.
As the old saying goes…you have to invite the demon in.