Audio

Our technology lets us add audio to the interactive video experience. Something competing methods have difficulty providing.

Currently, one sometimes sees an electronic screen in a shop window, scrolling through a set of still images or perhaps playing some video. Usually the pedestrian cannot affect this presentation. Non-interactive. Also, there often no sound; no accompanying audio track. The reason is simple. For sound to be heard by the pedestrian, the retailer needs to put speakers exposed to the street. This makes them likely to be vandalised or stolen.

Plus, suppose a retailer does that anyway. Some locales might restrict the volume at which the audio can be played, to reduce noise pollution.

In our case, we play audio from the pedestrian’s cellphone. The webpage which appears on the phone as the remote control for the shop screen can also have audio. Plus, unlike the above cases, the audio is under the control of the user. She can vary the volume or turn it off if desired.

Related to this are the other use cases of our technology. Consider a traditional billboard from say 1950. It was possible then for an engineer to install a loudspeaker and a playing device, to play audio. But since then, it is very rare to hear a billboard. The problem is social – it would be considered noise pollution. Whereas when we have an electronic billboard using our technology, then just as for the shop window, the phone web page can play accompanying audio.

Or consider a screen dangling from the ceiling in a bar or restaurant. Sometimes, such screens have the audio turned off. Now, the audio can be delivered via the watcher’s cellphone.

Our technology also lets several users get audio on their phones, where only one user is controlling the screen. The other users are watching the screen and want to hear it.

Another useful application is getting different audio tracks for the same video on the screen. Each audio track could be in a different language. By comparison, suppose a screen’s speakers can be heard by viewers. (So the screen is not in a shop window.) The speakers can play in principle 2 language tracks at the same time, one on the left and one on the right. Although in practice this is rare. Viewers however have the option of listening to 1 or 2 audio tracks. To listen to 2, she needs her phone to be able to play stereo audio. Then she can get an audio track from her web page to go to her left speaker and another audio track to her right speaker. These speakers might be ear buds.

But the main benefit to the advertiser is to be able to make audio tracks in several languages and have all of these available to viewers.