Sending the right signals

Mobile advertising could be the next big thing. But are all the players ready for the challenges ahead? 

Illustration by Kishore Das

In late March, Google was awarded a slightly unusual patent — for advertising based on environmental conditions. That sounds odd enough, but how it will work is even stranger. The idea is to have in-built sensors in mobile phones that can gather information about the user’s surroundings; based on that, relevant, targeted ads will pop up on screen when the user browses the net. For instance, on a blistering hot day, ads for ice cream or air conditioners could appear.