Adflow Gets U.S. Patent Grant On Interactive Retail Technology

The guys up the street from me at ADFLOW Networks have announced a new patent grant for the process of lifting and looking at products in retail environments.

The longtime signage CMS firm, based in Burlington, Ontario, says U.S. Patent No. 9,152,986 for “lift and touch” technology simplifies the complex problem of maintaining and updating content related to devices tethered in an interactive product display.

“This latest patent solves the challenge of managing content across a large network of interactive kiosks,” says ADFLOW Networks CEO David Roscoe in a news release“The ADFLOW platform is able to identify products tethered to the kiosk and aligns the appropriate content with each tethered product. This automates the process of managing the complexities of content when products displayed on an interactive kiosk are continually changing. As a result of this advancement in technology, ADFLOW customers can manage a promotional campaign easily and with minimal effort.”

ADFLOW says the new patent helps to further automate the way retailers can manage their marketing campaigns, and radically simplifies the merchandising process.

“This new technology will change the game for ADFLOW’s retailer customers. Interactive kiosks are nothing new, but managing content has never been done like this, with such little effort required to keep content current,” adds Roscoe. “Without ADFLOW’s latest innovation, the management of the content becomes complicated, taking many hours continually to manage. ADFLOW makes this process much simpler.”

You can review the patent claim here. I tried, but quickly went into cross-eyed, Oh-God, Screw-This mode. This is why patent lawyers get $350/hour. They’re willing to write and read this stuff.

Example:

What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus, comprising:
a computer implemented content controller; an assembly including a holder attached to the apparatus to hold a device identifiable by an identifier (ID) that uniquely identifies the device, the device ID retrievable from the device through an application interface executing on the device and the holder of the device identifiable as physical location information in a geographic and/or area location for the device; and

wherein the content controller is configured to:
obtain the device ID by interfacing with the application interface executing on the device over a communication link between the device and the content controller and requesting the device to identify itself, responsive to an event detected in connection with presence of the device determined based upon the holder of the device, retrieve information related to the device responsive to the presence event determined based upon the holder of the device, the retrieved information related to the device determined according to a combination of the device ID obtained from the device and the holder of the device indicative of the physical location information in the geographic and/or area location for the device, thereby influencing by the device ID and the holder of the device the information retrieval triggered by the device presence according to the holder of the device; and provide the information related to the device to an output interface.

It goes on like that for a long while.

This diagram will help explain it all:

adflowpatent

You’re clear now, right? Of course not.

So I asked Roscoe for a little more colour commentary. The essence of the patent, he told me, is that the content for the items displayed on a kiosk can be identified by connecting them to the kiosk, which automatically aligns the content. So,  any device can be in any position and change at any time and the content moves with it.  That means there is no need to change anything relating to content at the kiosk – just change the position.

All the content scheduling is done in the CMS – and the logic about what to play at what position is determined by the identifier or the physical connection. Presumably an identifier could be something like an RFID tag or other device tied to a sensor.

ADFLOW also got a patent in 2006 for “Method and System for Dynamic Displays of Marketing Campaigns on Display Locations via a Network.”

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than a decade. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Toronto.
Dave Haynes

@sixteennine

Decade-old blog about digital signage and related tech, written by industry consultant and shit-disturber Dave Haynes.
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1 Comment

  • Tony Scott says:

    Interesting that Adflow should attempt to patent what is actually ‘prior art’ in many markets.
    On our website visitors can see our ‘Wallflower Detective’ units that have been used in many identical situations to the Adflow proposition. We have installed units using this technology over 8 years ago on kiosks supplies to major cosmetic manufacturers.

    More recently we supplied kiosk for Gucci that used RFID devices mounted in the bases of perfume samplers. When one was picked up it triggered the playing of a video for that sample as well as triggering shelf lighting.

    We have also supplied intelligent display stands for hardware store chains allowing customers to pick up a power tool and see a video for this.

    Our software also interfaces to most major store security tethering systems and can be triggered by them.

    See this link for our website

    http://wallflowerglobal.com/productsuite/wallflower-detective-overview/

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