Attention! Your Car is an Autobot!!

A unique digital billboard campaign for this summer’s blockbuster Transformers 5 movie put passing traffic front and center with Milestone video software and Intelliscape’s custom-designed integration. The Transformers movies are based on highly advanced metallic creatures that “transform” from secret lives as ordinary cars and trucks into larger-than-life battling robots. Lamar Advertising’s client, Paramount Pictures, wanted to reach out to ordinary car owners and draw them into the picture’s unique universe.

Lamar Advertising had previously worked with Milestone Solution Partner Intelliscape, on a digital billboard campaign where Milestone software,  Canon IP video cameras, and video analytics were integrated to identify certain makes and models of cars for the purpose of presenting responsive, targeted ad messaging. The solution included Canon VBH43 network video cameras mounted on another Lamar billboard about 1,000 feet ahead of the digital billboard. This allowed enough time for the data to be transmitted, a new targeted image to be delivered to the digital billboard, and time for the driver to look and see it in passing.

The cameras fed into Milestone XProtect Corporate video management software (VMS), which has an open platform that enables interoperability with other systems. The Intelliscape analytic solution integrated the VMS with proprietary analytics for car recognition that matches vehicles against a database of those with the same make and model.

As fans of the Transformers franchise know, the cars and vehicles play important roles within the movies. The color, make and model of the car characters are critical, and we wanted to be able to spot these cars on the highway — in real time — and send them a direct digital billboard message.
– Ian Dallimore, Director of Digital Innovation, Lamar Billboards

The solution immediately recognizes the target vehicle and delivers the custom billboard advertisements accordingly, incorporating the car make and model within the message: Attention Your Honda Civic is an Autobot!  Recognition data for Ford Focus, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and Chevy Malibu are also included.

The Canon cameras provide high-resolution images of the cars, and the Milestone VMS manages the multiple video data streams and resolutions without delays or technical difficulties.

Our medium is usually all mass media, but this solution enables us to have a direct conversation with people. This is really taking digital billboards and target marketing to the next level. It’s pretty cool what we’re able to do. – Ian Dallimore

In the US, the campaign was launched in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Cincinnati and Oklahoma City and ran for about three weeks.

Deep Learning and Integration

Intelliscape is a global provider of deep learning and AI solutions for data gathering and analytics of vehicles, bicycles, objects, and people for automated, near-real-time situational awareness, or for customer experience optimization. Intelliscape Managing Director, John McGiffin, and his team created and implemented the Milestone-based solution.

There are a lot of moving parts to this type of project. We needed a solid platform that wouldn’t give us any problems — and that means Milestone. We’re thrilled with the VMS. It’s easy to work with, is very open and stable, and works great with our software. – John McGiffin

According to McGiffin, there are many factors involved that must be taken into account for the digital billboard integration, such as vehicle speed, lighting, and camera angles. Since each location is different, multiple images of targeted vehicles are used to create a database to identify cars as they pass by.

This is not unlike a facial recognition system, but we’re using a database of vehicle images and information to make positive identifications. The software then triggers the right message to appear on the billboard. – John McGiffin

Although Intelliscape’s vehicle make/model recognition does not utilize License Plate Recognition, instead recognizing the front grill area of each vehicle, McGiffin added that Milestone’s LPR can be combined to provide an even broader range of possible applications, including multi-factor vehicle recognition, uses in parking garages, drive-thru services, freight yards, and much more.