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Almost feel like apologising in advance for this one, since yet another perfectly valid means to exploit a communications medium presents another spam/junk mail opportunity. Nevertheless, it's a doozie! The widespread adoption of Bluetooth in mobile phones provides the new channel. Portable computers also having Bluetooth onboard provides the means. The principle is simple - a program designed to utilise the built in features of Bluetooth to actively push out advertising messages - Bluetooth Ads, or Bads for short! A critical feature of Bluetooth is Object Exchange (AKA obex). This allows the discrete exchange of computer data, typically comprising a record of a name and phone number (though can contain more). If and someone else with you have Bluetooth mobile phones, you can try this yourselves. Usually you'll be able to send and receive records from your phone's address books without too much difficulty. Note that during the process you'll need to select the specific phone to send to - often this will only be the make/model of the phone, though many owners have given their phone a more descriptive/personal moniker. Anyway, the "push" can be achived without necessarily requiring any explicit participation from the recipient (though the recipient will likely be given the option to accept or reject the information received, curiosity very often prevails!). Bluetooth is only a short range wireless technology, constituting a primary limitation - sender and recipient typically needing to be within ten metres of each other to "see" each others' phones. The practice has already been demonstrated, though in tawdry context, indeed this manual method being so labour intensive as to make impracticable for many purposes. I envisage a small utility, comprising (either hooks into Outlook or equivalent or) its own database of contact information, with a couple of specific modal settings. The contact information referred to requisite for two purposes - to contain outward bound messages and potentially capture prospective contacts. The program would run constantly (a Daemon service) and offer abilities to: detect and select Bluetooth phones nearby; send messages and potentially harvest advertised contact information. This final function arises by virtue of the capability for Bluetooth mobile phone users to nominate a "business card" (typically a singular, selected address book entry), this being freely available for recipient initialised collection. Another very specific requirement is the ability to exercise these functions either wholly unattended and indiscriminately (promiscuous mode) or selectively - emulating typical mobile phone functionality. The former operating mode embodies the raison d'etre for this invention - effectively this delivers the ability to deliver mass advertising by proximity alone. Thus a mobile phone shop can provide viewers at their shop window with their phone number against an address book entry such as "Mobiles - BEST!"; or a Travel Agent their contact details to passers by. Further capability might permit the sending of a free thumbnail of an artist's painting as someone passes by their gallery, or a clip from the latest song of the week when one passes a music shop.
Posted 11:40 AM, Sunday, October 29, 2006, by Faber Optimé. Post permanently located here. Click here to email the author about this post.