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Publication numberUS20050088407 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/973,335
Publication dateApr 28, 2005
Filing dateOct 25, 2004
Priority dateOct 24, 2003
Also published asCN1902930A, CN1902930B, CN102034197A, EP1676442A2, US8487866, US20090235295, WO2005041578A2, WO2005041578A3
Publication number10973335, 973335, US 2005/0088407 A1, US 2005/088407 A1, US 20050088407 A1, US 20050088407A1, US 2005088407 A1, US 2005088407A1, US-A1-20050088407, US-A1-2005088407, US2005/0088407A1, US2005/088407A1, US20050088407 A1, US20050088407A1, US2005088407 A1, US2005088407A1
InventorsMatthew Bell, Russell Belfer
Original AssigneeMatthew Bell, Belfer Russell H.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and system for managing an interactive video display system
US 20050088407 A1
Abstract
A method for managing an interactive video display system. A plurality of video spots are displayed on the interactive video display system. Data based on interaction with the interactive video display system corresponding to video spots of the plurality of video spots is gathered. The data is stored, wherein the data is for use in managing presentation of the video spots. By analyzing data relating to different video spots, popularity and other metrics may be determined for the video spots, providing useful information for managing the presentation of the video spots.
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Claims(54)
1. A method for managing an interactive video display system, said method comprising:
displaying a plurality of video spots on said interactive video display system;
gathering data based on interaction with said interactive video display system corresponding to video spots of said plurality of video spots; and
storing said data, wherein said data is for use in managing presentation of said plurality of video spots.
2. The method as recited in claim 1 wherein said data comprises information about what virtual objects displayed by said interactive video display system were interacted with.
3. The method as recited in claim 1 wherein said data comprises information about a location of said interaction relative to a display of said interactive video display system.
4. The method as recited in claim 1 wherein said interaction is determined using a person tracking process.
5. The method as recited in claim 1 wherein said interaction is determined according to a foreground/background classification image.
6. The method as recited in claim 1 wherein said storing said data comprises storing said data to a local memory of said interactive video display system.
7. The method as recited in claim 1 wherein said storing said data comprises:
transmitting said data to an external computer system; and
storing said data to a memory of said external computer system.
8. The method as recited in claim 1 further comprising analyzing said data for use in managing presentation of said plurality of video spots.
9. The method as recited in claim 8 wherein said analyzing said data comprises determining popularity for at least one video spot of said plurality of video spots based on said data.
10. The method as recited in claim 8 wherein said analyzing said data comprises analyzing said data gathered at the end of said displaying of at least one video spot of said plurality of video spots for determining the number of people in the viewing area of said interactive video display system at the end of said displaying of said video spot.
11. The method as recited in claim 8 wherein said analyzing said data comprises analyzing said data gathered from said displaying of at least one video spot of said plurality of video spots for determining the average number of people in the area of said interactive video display system during said displaying of said video spot.
12. The method as recited in claim 8 wherein said analyzing said data comprises analyzing said data gathered at the beginning and end of said displaying of at least one video spot of said plurality of video spots for determining the difference in the number of people in the viewing area of said interactive video display system from the beginning to the end of said displaying of said video spot.
13. The method as recited in claim 8 wherein said analyzing said data comprises analyzing said data gathered for said displaying of at least one video spot of said plurality of video spots for determining the total number of people who entered the viewing are viewing area of said interactive video display system and the number of people who exited the viewing area of said interactive video display system during said displaying of said video spot.
14. The method as recited in claim 8 wherein said analyzing said data comprises analyzing said data gathered for said displaying of at least one video spot of said plurality of video spots for determining the length of time a person spends interacting with said interactive video display system.
15. The method as recited in claim 8 wherein said analyzing said data comprises analyzing said data gathered for said displaying of at least one video spot of said plurality of video spots for determining the amount of movement during said displaying of said video spot.
16. The method as recited in claim 8 wherein said analyzing said data comprises determining a first user attraction level for at least one video spot of said plurality of video spots based on said data.
17. The method as recited in claim 8 wherein said analyzing said data comprises determining a group appeal for at least one video spot of said plurality of video spots based on said data.
18. The method as recited in claim 8 further comprising gathering external information for use in said analyzing said data.
19. The method as recited in claim 8 further comprising adjusting a display schedule of said plurality of video spots based on said analyzing said data.
20. The method as recited in claim 19 wherein said display schedule is automatically adjusted based on said analysis.
21. The method as recited in claim 19 wherein said display schedule is manually adjusted based on said analysis.
22. The method as recited in claim 20 wherein particular said spots are displayed on said interactive video display system when no interaction is taking place on said interactive video display system.
23. A system for managing an interactive video display system, said system comprising:
a display for displaying a plurality of video spots on said interactive video display system;
a data gatherer for gathering data based on interaction with said interactive video display system corresponding to video spots of said plurality of video spots; and
a data storage storing said data, wherein said data is for use in managing presentation of said plurality of video spots.
24. The system as recited in claim 23 wherein said data comprises information about what virtual objects displayed by said interactive video display system were interacted with.
25. The system as recited in claim 23 wherein said data comprises information about a location of said interaction relative to a display of said interactive video display system.
26. The system as recited in claim 23 wherein said interaction is determined using a person tracking process.
27. The system as recited in claim 23 wherein said interaction is determined according to a foreground/background classification image.
28. The system as recited in claim 23 wherein said data storage is a local data storage of said interactive video display system.
29. The system as recited in claim 23 wherein said data storage is a data storage of an external computer system.
30. The system as recited in claim 23 further comprising a data analyzer for analyzing said data for use in managing presentation of said plurality of video spots.
31. The system as recited in claim 30 wherein said analyzer is operable to determine popularity for at least one video spot of said plurality of video spots based on said data.
32. The system as recited in claim 30 wherein said analyzer is operable to determine a first user attraction level for at least one video spot of said plurality of video spots based on said data.
33. The system as recited in claim 30 wherein said analyzer is operable to determine a group appeal for at least one video spot of said plurality of video spots based on said data.
34. The system as recited in claim 30 wherein said analyzer receives external data for use in said analyzing said data.
35. The system as recited in claim 30 further comprising a video spot scheduler for adjusting a display schedule of said plurality of video spots based on said analyzing said data.
36. The system as recited in claim 35 wherein said display schedule is automatically adjusted based on said analysis.
37. The system as recited in claim 35 wherein said display schedule is manually adjusted based on said analysis.
38. The system as recited in claim 36 wherein particular said spots are displayed on said interactive video display system when no interaction is taking place on said interactive video display system.
39. A computer-usable medium having computer-readable program code embodied therein for causing a computer system to perform a method for managing an interactive video display system, said method comprising:
displaying a plurality of video spots on said interactive video display system;
gathering data based on interaction with said interactive video display system corresponding to video spots of said plurality of video spots; and
storing said data, wherein said data is for use in managing presentation of said plurality of video spots.
40. The computer-usable medium as recited in claim 39 wherein said data comprises information about what virtual objects displayed by said interactive video display system were interacted with.
41. The computer-usable medium as recited in claim 39 wherein said data comprises information about a location of said interaction relative to a display of said interactive video display system.
42. The computer-usable medium as recited in claim 39 wherein said interaction is determined using a person tracking process.
43. The computer-usable medium as recited in claim 39 wherein said interaction is determined according to a foreground/background classification image.
44. The computer-usable medium as recited in claim 39 wherein said storing said data comprises storing said data to a local memory of said interactive video display system.
45. The computer-usable medium as recited in claim 39 wherein said storing said data comprises:
transmitting said data to an external computer system; and
storing said data to a memory of said external computer system.
46. The computer-usable medium as recited in claim 39 wherein said method further comprises analyzing said data for use in managing presentation of said plurality of video spots.
47. The computer-usable medium as recited in claim 46 wherein said analyzing said data comprises determining popularity for at least one video spot of said plurality of video spots based on said data.
48. The computer-usable medium as recited in claim 46 wherein said analyzing said data comprises determining a first user attraction level for at least one video spot of said plurality of video spots based on said data.
49. The computer-usable medium as recited in claim 46 wherein said analyzing said data comprises determining a group appeal for at least one video spot of said plurality of video spots based on said data.
50. The computer-usable medium as recited in claim 46 further comprising gathering external information for use in said analyzing said data.
51. The computer-usable medium as recited in claim 46 wherein said method further comprises adjusting a display schedule of said plurality of video spots based on said analyzing said data.
52. The computer-usable medium as recited in claim 51 wherein said display schedule is automatically adjusted based on said analysis.
53. The computer-usable medium as recited in claim 51 wherein said display schedule is manually adjusted based on said analysis.
54. The computer-usable medium as recited in claim 52 wherein particular said spots are displayed on said interactive video display system when no interaction is taking place on said interactive video display system.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority from co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/514,232, filed on Oct. 24, 2003, entitled “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR MANAGING CAPTURED IMAGE INFORMATION IN AN INTERACTIVE VIDEO DISPLAY SYSTEM,” by Bell et al., and assigned to the assignee of the present application, which is herein incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of visual electronic displays. Specifically, embodiments of the present invention relate to a self-contained interactive video display system.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Advertising is used to convey various types of information to an audience. To fully maximize the performance of an advertisement, it is desirable for the advertiser to be able to gather information regarding effectiveness of the advertisement(s). This effectiveness measure may comprise both how many people saw the advertisement, whether people paid attention to it. In general, for traditional offline advertising (e.g., billboards, posters, television commercials) data gathering is typically based on information related to where the advertisement is placed. For example, for a billboard advertisement, effectiveness may be measured by the amount of automobile traffic that passes the billboard. Similarly, for a television commercial, effectiveness, or popularity, may be based on popularity ratings for the television show during which the television commercial was aired. In this way, information regarding the popularity of an advertisement may be inferred based on the advertisement placement information. However, it is typically very difficult to directly measure popularity of traditional advertisements. Because these advertisements are not interactive, it is difficult to know if people are actually paying attention to them.

Recent technological advancements have led to the creation of a new type of advertising medium, the interactive video display system. Interactive video display systems allow real-time unencumbered human interactions with video displays. Natural physical motions by human users are captured by a computer vision system and used to drive visual effects. The computer vision system usually uses images captured by a video camera as input and has software processes that gather real-time information about people and other objects in the interactive area viewed by the camera.

For interactive video display systems, it is possible to gather information regarding displayed images based on the same methods used for traditional offline advertising mediums. However, in addition to providing real-time interactions, it would be desirable to have an interactive video display system that is capable of capturing and managing information derived from such real-time interactions not available to traditional offline advertising mediums.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Various embodiments of the present invention, a method and system for managing an interactive video display system, are described herein. In one embodiment, a plurality of video spots are displayed on the interactive video display system.

Data based on interactions with the interactive video display system corresponding to video spots of the plurality of video spots is gathered. In one embodiment, the interaction is determined according to person tracking. In another embodiment, the interaction is determined according to a foreground/background classification image. In one embodiment, the data includes information about what virtual objects displayed by the interactive video display system were interacted with. In one embodiment, the data includes information about a location of the interaction relative to a display of the interactive video display system.

The data may then be stored and may be used in managing presentation of the video spots. In one embodiment, the data is stored at a local memory of the interactive video display system. In another embodiment, the data is transmitted to an external computer system and is stored in a memory of the external computer system.

In one embodiment, the data is analyzed for use in managing presentation of the plurality of video spots. In one embodiment, analyzing the data includes determining popularity for at least one video spot of the plurality of video spots based on the data. In another embodiment, analyzing the data includes determining a “first user attraction level” for at least one video spot of the plurality of video spots based on the data. In another embodiment, analyzing the data includes determining a group appeal for at least one video spot of the plurality of video spots based on the data. In one embodiment, external data is gathered for use in analyzing the data.

In one embodiment, the display schedule of the plurality of video spots is adjusted based on analyzing data. In one embodiment, the display schedule is automatically adjusted based on the analysis. In another embodiment, the display schedule is manually adjusted based on the analysis.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and form a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention:

FIG. 1A illustrates a projection interactive video display system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 1B illustrates a self-contained interactive video display system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a system for managing an interactive video display system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a process for managing an interactive video display system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference will now be made in detail to various embodiments of the invention, an electronic device for monitoring the presence of objects around a second electronic device, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. While the invention will be described in conjunction with these embodiments, it is understood that they are not intended to limit the invention to these embodiments. On the contrary, the invention is intended to cover alternatives, modifications and equivalents, which may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. Furthermore, in the following detailed description of the invention, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. However, it will be recognized by one of ordinary skill in the art that the invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well known methods, procedures, components, and circuits have not been described in detail as not to unnecessarily obscure aspects of the invention.

Some portions of the detailed descriptions, which follow, are presented in terms of procedures, steps, logic blocks, processing, and other symbolic representations of operations on data bits that can be performed on computer memory. These descriptions and representations are the means used by those skilled in the data processing arts to most effectively convey the substance of their work to others skilled in the art. A procedure, computer executed step, logic block, process, etc., is here, and generally, conceived to be a self-consistent sequence of steps or instructions leading to a desired result. The steps are those requiring physical manipulations of physical quantities. Usually, though not necessarily, these quantities take the form of electrical or magnetic signals capable of being stored, transferred, combined, compared, and otherwise manipulated in a computer system. It has proven convenient at times, principally for reasons of common usage, to refer to these signals as bits, values, elements, symbols, characters, terms, numbers, or the like.

It should be borne in mind, however, that all of these and similar terms are to be associated with the appropriate physical quantities and are merely convenient labels applied to these quantities. Unless specifically stated otherwise as apparent from the following discussions, it is appreciated that throughout the present invention, discussions utilizing terms such as “presenting” or “gathering” or “storing” or “transmitting” or “analyzing” or “determining” or “adjusting” or “managing” the like, refer to the action and processes of an electronic system (e.g., 200 of FIG. 2), or similar electronic computing device, that manipulates and transforms data represented as physical (electronic) quantities within the electronic device's registers and memories into other data similarly represented as physical quantities within the electronic device memories or registers or other such information storage, transmission or display devices.

Various embodiments of the present invention in the form of one or more exemplary embodiments will now be described. In one embodiment, the interactive video display system includes a vision system that captures and processes information relating to a scene. The processed information is used to generate certain visual effects that are then displayed to viewers via an interactive display device. People are able to interact with such visual effects on a real-time basis.

FIG. 1A illustrates a projection interactive video display system 100 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Projection interactive video display system 100 uses a camera system 105, an illuminator that illuminates surface 102 being viewed by camera 105, a projector 110 that projects an image 120 onto the interactive space 115 of surface 102, and a local computer (not shown) that takes as input the image of camera 105 and outputs a video image to projector 110.

The local computer processes the camera 105 input to discern information about the position and movement of people (or moving objects)in the volume in front of surface 102. In one embodiment, the local computer processes the camera 105 input to discern on a pixel-by-pixel basis what portions of the volume in front of surface 102 (e.g., interactive space 115) are occupied by people (or moving objects) and what portions of surface 102 are background. The local computer may accomplish this by developing several evolving models of what the background is believed to look like, and then comparing its concepts of the background to what camera 105 is currently imaging. Components of the local computer that process camera 105 input are collectively known as the vision system. Various embodiments of projection interactive video display system 100 and the vision system are described in co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/160,217, filed on May 28, 2002, entitled “INTERACTIVE VIDEO DISPLAY SYSTEM,” by Bell, and assigned to the assignee of the present application, and in co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/514,024, filed on Oct. 24, 2003, entitled “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR PROCESSING CAPTURED IMAGE INFORMATION IN AN INTERACTIVE VIDEO SYSTEM,” by Bell, and assigned to the assignee of the present application, both of which are herein incorporated by reference.

In one embodiment, projection interactive video display system 100 is coupled to a remote computer system 130. In one embodiment, remote computer system 130 is a remote server for collecting data gathered by projection interactive video display system 100. In one embodiment, remote computer system 130 is configured to collect data gathered by multiple projection interactive video display systems 100 that are located in physically distinct locations. It should be appreciated that remote computer system 130 may be located in a different physical location than projection interactive video display system 100.

FIG. 1B illustrates a self-contained interactive video display system 150 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Self-contained interactive video display system 150 displays an image onto display screen 155, and uses a camera (not shown) to detect people and objects in interactive space 160. A local computer (not shown), also referred to as the image system, takes as input the image of the camera and outputs a video image to display screen 155.

Various embodiments of self-contained interactive video display system 150 are described in co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/946,263, filed on Sep. 20, 2004, entitled “SELF-CONTAINED INTERACTIVE VIDEO DISPLAY SYSTEM,” by Bell et al., and assigned to the assignee of the present application, co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/946,084, filed on Sep. 20, 2004, entitled “SELF-CONTAINED INTERACTIVE VIDEO DISPLAY SYSTEM,” by Bell, and assigned to the assignee of the present application, and co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No.______, filed on Sep. 20, 2004, entitled “INTERACTIVE VIDEO WINDOW DISPLAY SYSTEM,” by Bell, and assigned to the assignee of the present application, all of which are herein incorporated by reference. Furthermore, various embodiments of the vision system are described in co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/160,217, filed on May 28, 2002, entitled “INTERACTIVE VIDEO DISPLAY SYSTEM,” by Bell, and assigned to the assignee of the present application, and in co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/514,024, filed on Oct. 24, 2003, entitled “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR PROCESSING CAPTURED IMAGE INFORMATION IN AN INTERACTIVE VIDEO SYSTEM,” by Bell, and assigned to the assignee of the present application, both of which are herein incorporated by reference.

In one embodiment, self-contained interactive video display system 150 is coupled to a remote computer system 170. In one embodiment, remote computer system 170 is a remote server for collecting data gathered by self-contained interactive video display system 150. In one embodiment, remote computer system 170 is configured to collect data gathered by multiple self-contained interactive video display systems 150 and/or projection interactive video display systems 100 (FIG. 1A) that are located in physically distinct locations. It should be appreciated that remote computer system 170 may be located in a different physical location than self-contained interactive video display system 150. Many other forms of interactive video display systems exist. These systems may use different kinds of display media, and different sensing apparatus. However, the techniques described in this patent are fully applicable to these other systems as well.

FIG. 2 illustrates a system 200 for managing an interactive video display system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. System 200 includes interactive video display system 210 (e.g., projection interactive video display system 100 of FIG. 1A or self-contained interactive video display system 150 of FIG. 1B) and remote computer system 230 (e.g., remote computer system 130 of FIG. 1A or remote computer system 170 of FIG. 1B). Interactive video display system 210 includes display 212, vision system 214, video spot storage 216, and data gathering module 218. In one embodiment, display 212, vision system 214, video spot storage 216, and data gathering module 218 are components of a computer system of interactive video display system 210. Remote computer system 230 includes data storage 232, data analysis module 234, and video spot schedule 236. It should be appreciated that in various embodiments of the present invention, any or all of the components and functionality of remote computer system 230 may be local and included in interactive video display system 210.

Data Gathering

In an exemplary aspect, interactive video display system 210 presents a rich opportunity to gather data about interactions with and usage of the interactive displays. This data is gathered at data gathering module 218, and is useful for many kinds of interactive contents and applications. In one exemplary embodiment, the data is useful for designing advertising contents 20 as it allows advertisers to analyze where and when their advertisements are most popular, thus, allowing them to adjust their advertisements and/or schedules accordingly.

The data may be analyzed locally by the same computer that handles vision system 214. Alternatively, interactive video display system 210 may be networked, allowing the data for one or more systems to be analyzed from remote computer system 230. The data from multiple systems may be pooled to increase the total amount of data or to identify differences between locations.

By using a person-tracking process, real-time information relating to the present and past positions of people viewed by a camera of vision system 214 or a separate camera, can be determined. Using this information, additional information can be derived including, for example, the number of people on or near the display 212, the time at which each person enters and leaves the display 212 (e.g., interactive area 115 of FIG. 1A), and whether they are moving and interacting with the displayed image. In one embodiment of interactive video display system 210, such as, a floor or wall-projected interactive display, the boundaries of the display screen are known. Thus, based on the respective positions of the people, additional information about the people within display 212 can be derived. For example, specific information can be determined based on the number of people who are interacting with Interactive video display system 210 and the number of people who are mere spectators. In addition, with face-recognition systems, it is also possible to gather demographic data such as gender. It should be appreciated that the person tracking system may take the form of a face-tracking system, in which heads are counted and tracked instead of entire bodies. A variety of person-tracking processes exist. These processes may use one or more of a variety of systems and techniques including, but not limited to, stereo cameras, time-of-flight cameras, depth segmentation, color segmentation, feature tracking, face detection, template matching, adaptive template matching, and blob tracking.

Similar data can be gathered from a foreground/background classification image, which may be produced by vision system 214. The portion of the image that is classified as foreground is a rough approximation of the number of people viewed by the camera. If the width and height of the screen viewed by the camera and the approximate cross-sectional size of a typical person from the camera's point of view are known, then the approximate portion of the screen that is turned to foreground by the presence of a single person can be computed. Consequently, a conversion can be made from foreground portion to number of people. Alternatively, by doing some experiments with a person in front of the camera, the approximate portion of foreground that corresponds to a single person for a given installation can be determined. This “foreground portion” data can be used to roughly estimate how popular the display is at a given time, and whether people are entering or leaving the display. Because the physical boundaries of interactive video display system 210 may only take up a portion of the camera's view, the foreground/background classification image can be segmented into different regions, such as, “on the display”, “within one foot of the display's boundary” “off the display, but within 4 feet of it” and the foreground portions for each region can be recorded separately. Small thumbnail or full-size copies of the vision foreground-background classification image can also be directly logged for later analysis.

Data from the person-tracking information and/or the foreground portions may be referred to as vision data and can be written (e.g., stored) on a periodic basis (e.g., once per second) to a log file. In one embodiment, the log file is stored in data storage 232. This log file can then be analyzed, either locally or centrally, at a later time by data analysis module 234. In addition, the log entries may be time-stamped and may contain information about what content is running at that time.

In addition to the vision data, data about the specific interactions that took place on the display can be gathered. For example, suppose that interactive video display system 210 is showing a survey that asks users questions and takes their responses by having them touch virtual buttons. The votes on the virtual survey could be recorded in the logs along with the vision data. In the case of video game content, the scores and actions of the players could be added to the log file. In the case of interactive informational content, such as, a virtual shopping catalog, each instance of a product or item being viewed could be recorded in the log file. In general, any information about an instance of human interaction with a virtual object on the screen can be logged for later analysis. This can be used as a valuable feedback tool for advertisers, game designers, and content creators.

Use of Data for Monitoring

In many situations, the display or screen of interactive video display system 210 requires maintenance and cleaning. In public installations, this maintenance and cleaning generally takes place after hours, when the display is turned off. In order to verify that maintenance and cleaning is taking place on a regular basis, the data logs can be checked for activity after hours.

Analysis of Content Popularity

In other situations, interactive video display system 210 sequentially displays different pieces of content, which will be referred to as “spots” or “video spots”, each for a length of time. The spots are stored in video spot storage 216. This series of spots can be conceptually compared to a series of television commercials. There is flexibility in the number of spots, the length of time that they play, and the order in which they play. In one embodiment, video spot scheduler 236 controls the scheduling of the spots, wherein video spot scheduler 236 may be located locally or remotely, as described above.

Data analysis module 234 is operable to perform data analysis on the gathered data stored in data storage 232. In one embodiment, the popularity of each spot can be determined based on the logged data as described above. For example, a spot's popularity can be measured by taking the average of the logged values for the foreground portion or the number of people on the screen during the periods when the spot was showing. However, there are various issues that should be considered with the foregoing approach. First, the number of people on the screen when the spot begins playing is determined by the popularity of the previous spot. For example, a spot that follows an unpopular spot will tend to have lower activity levels than it otherwise would have. Second, the number of people interacting with a spot depends on the number of people near the display; if very few people are in the venue where the interactive system is installed, then relatively few people will interact with the system. Ways to handle the foregoing problems will be further described below.

Controlling Effects of Prior Spot Popularity

There are several ways to reduce or eliminate the effects of the previous spot's popularity on the spot that is being evaluated. In one embodiment, the order in which spots are played is randomized, so that each spot follows each other spot with equal probability. There may be some deviation from true randomness to prevent the same spot from playing twice in too short a time period. Thus, any effect of the previous spot on the current spot's popularity would be averaged out across all spots, giving a somewhat better sense of the spot's true popularity.

In another embodiment, the length of time that the spot runs can be increased so that the effects of the previous spot are limited.

Furthermore, there are other ways of measuring various aspects of popularity that are less sensitive to the popularity of the previous spot. The following are some illustrative examples. In the case of examples that describe what to do for each showing of the spot, presume that the statistic gathered is averaged over the number of showings. Nearly all these techniques work for both person-tracking data and foreground portion data. Techniques described earlier explain how to turn foreground portion data into a rough estimate of the number of people. These techniques can be applied equally well to data from the camera's whole image or data from a specified region, such as the area within the interactive display or the area near the interactive display.

In one embodiment, for each showing of the spot, only the data for the last few seconds of the showing is analyzed when computing the average number of people or foreground portion. This average is referred to as “average popularity”. In another embodiment, for each showing of the spot, the difference between the showing's average popularity and the average popularity during the previous spot is computed. This shows whether the current spot caused an increase in the number of people on the screen.

The above two approaches can be combined; in another embodiment, the difference between the showing's average popularity and the average popularity during the previous spot is computed. However, only the last few seconds of the showing of the current spot and the previous spot are used when computing the averages.

In another embodiment, for each showing of the spot, the difference between the number of people (or foreground portion) at the beginning of the showing and the number of people (or foreground portion) at the end of the showing is computed. The beginning and end could either be instantaneous or refer to the average of the first few seconds and last few seconds respectively.

It should be appreciated that the aforementioned approaches to determining popularity attempt to measure how many people were interacting with the display as a result of a particular spot. However, there are other types of statistics that can be gathered with regard to human interactions with the interactive display. The next few paragraphs describe other such measures.

In a further embodiment, for each showing of the spot, the number of people who entered the display and the number of people who left the display during the showing are counted. Popular spots, of course, have more people enter and fewer people leave, in some cases, though, it would be desirable to have many people enter and leave, thus allowing the content to be seen by as many people as possible. The information about the number of people entering and leaving can be derived directly from person tracking data or estimated from the foreground portion data by looking for quick rises and drops (of a particular minimum size) in the foreground portion data.

In another embodiment, for each showing of the spot, the average length of time that people playing with the spot have been on the display is recorded. Depending on the kind of message delivered by the interactive content, the person controlling the system may want either a long or a short length of stay.

In another embodiment, the amount of movement that takes place during the spot's showings is recorded. The amount of movement can be derived as the average speed of people on the display, which can be found by examining the position information in the person-tracking data. An alternative measure of the amount of movement can be calculated from the foreground/background images by computing the portion of pixels that switched from foreground to background or vice versa between two such images a very short time apart. In order to compute the average amount of movement, this image difference would ideally be made several times during each showing of the spot. This allows the person controlling the system to distinguish between spots that promote lively behavior and spots that create a more sedate atmosphere but are nonetheless popular.

In another example, for each spot, the number of showings for which no one was interacting with the display the beginning (or no one interacted with the previous spot) but at least one person was interacting at the end is determined. This measures the spot's “first user attraction level,” e.g., how good it is attracting a person to interact with the display when there currently is no one interacting with the display. In a similar way, a spot's “group appeal” can be characterized by the number of times that one person was playing with the spot at the beginning of the showing and multiple people were playing with the spot at the end of the showing.

Controlling Overall Traffic Level

Embodiments of the present invention provide a way to account for the number of people in the venue where interactive video display system 210 is installed. One way to do this would be to simply obtain attendance data from the venue; many venues have such data by day and even by hour. Alternatively, the attendance data can be obtained by performing surveys or spot checks on the number of people in attendance, or by use of a wide-angle camera and analysis of the camera image to determine the number of people in attendance. Then, the popularity of each spot relative to the overall number of people who saw the interactive display system can be determined. Then, a given spot's popularity could then be compared fairly across venues with very different levels of attendance.

Alternatively, if it is desired to compare the relative popularity of different spots, all the spots could be run at the same general time of day for the same days and in the same venues so that any differences in overall traffic level affect all spots equally.

External Factors Affecting Popularity

The popularity of a given spot may vary greatly depending on a variety of other conditions or factors. These external factors 240 include, but are not limited to, time of day, day of the week, season, weather, physical location of installation (geography), type of interactive installation (wall projection, floor projection etc.), gender, age, income demographic of people visiting the venue of the installation, and how frequently the spot is shown, etc.

Spots that are popular under one set of conditions may be less popular under another set of conditions. In one embodiment, data analysis module 234 is operable to receive external data 240 in its analysis of the data. Since this data is either recorded in the spot logs or can be matched (based on time and location) to the spot logs, statistics on the popularity of a spot can be determined given some or all of these conditions.

Using Popularity Information

If a goal is to schedule a set of spots for a given interactive video display that optimizes the overall popularity of the display, then past popularity data from one or more interactive video displays can be analyzed to determine what spots should be chosen.

It is useful to put the popularity log information, along with associated external factors in a central searchable database format such as MySQL, especially if there are multiple installations of interactive video displays.

The people responsible for determining the schedule of spots can make use of this database by querying for the popularity data for these spots from the database. They have the option of limiting this data to similar external factors (e.g., looking up the popularity of spots running on weekdays from 10:00 PM to 12:00 AM at mall installations in New England) so as to allow the most accurate judgments to be made. The database could then produce a list of the most popular spots given those conditions. Based on what the scheduler wants, different methods of computing popularity, such as the ones described earlier, may be employed.

Automatic Scheduling

The spot popularity data can also be used to allow for automatic scheduling at video spot scheduler 236, both at a micro and at a macro level. At a micro level, an interactive video display system could run spots that are found through the log processing to have high “first user attraction level” (as defined earlier) when there is no one at the display and run spots with high “group appeal” (as defined earlier) when there is currently one person at the display. In addition, the system could look at its own spot popularity data over the last few minutes or hours, and change the schedule to show popular spots more often or stop showing unpopular spots. The system could even directly solicit feedback from users. For example, the system could display an interactive button that asks users to touch the button if they like the spot and want to see more like it.

At a macro level, a variety of machine learning processes can be employed, including but not limited to, neural networks, hidden Markov models, a mixture of Gaussian models, and principal component analysis, to build a model of the relationships between the popularity of each showing of each spot and the set of conditions under which that showing occurred. These machine learning processes could then automatically predict what set of spots would perform best at any given time and place, and automatically reschedule them to optimize their popularity.

In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 3, the present invention provides a process 300 for managing an interactive video display system, are described herein. In one embodiment, process 300 is carried out by processors and electrical components (e.g., an interactive video display system) under the control of computer readable and computer executable instructions, such as interactive video display system 210 of FIG. 2. Although specific steps are disclosed in process 300, such steps are exemplary. That is, the embodiments of the present invention are well suited to performing various other steps or variations of the steps recited in FIG. 3.

At step 310 of process 300, a plurality of video spots are displayed on the interactive video display system. In one embodiment, the plurality of video spots are displayed in a pseudo random order. In one embodiment, the length of time that a particular video spot is displayed is adjusted.

At step 320, data based on interaction with the interactive video display system corresponding to video spots of the plurality of video spots is gathered. In one embodiment, the interaction is determined according to person tracking. In another embodiment, the interaction is determined according to a foreground/background classification image.

At step 330, the data is stored, wherein the data is for use in managing presentation of the video spots. In one embodiment, the data is stored at a local memory of the interactive video display system. In another embodiment, the data is transmitted to an external computer system and is stored in a memory of the external computer system.

At step 340, in accordance with one embodiment, the data is analyzed for use in managing presentation of the plurality of video spots. In one embodiment, analyzing the data includes determining popularity for at least one video spot of the plurality of video spots based on the data. In another embodiment, analyzing the data includes determining a first user attraction level for at least one video spot of the plurality of video spots based on the data. In another embodiment, analyzing the data includes determining a group appeal for at least one video spot of the plurality of video spots based on the data. In one embodiment, external data is gathered for use in analyzing the data.

At step 350, in one embodiment, the display schedule of the plurality of video spots is adjusted based on analyzing data. In one embodiment, the display schedule is automatically adjusted based on the analysis. In another embodiment, the display schedule is manually adjusted based on the analysis. In one embodiment, the display schedule is fed into step 310 of process 300 for displaying the video spots.

In an exemplary implementation, the present invention is implemented using software in the form of control logic, in either an integrated or a modular manner. Alternatively, hardware or a combination of software and hardware can also be used to implement the present invention. Based on the disclosure and teachings provided herein, a person of ordinary skill in the art will know of other ways and/or methods to implement the present invention.

It is understood that the examples and embodiments described herein are for illustrative purposes only and that various modifications or changes in light thereof will be suggested to persons skilled in the art and are to be included within the spirit and purview of this application and scope of the appended claims. All publications, patents, and patent applications cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes in their entirety.

Various embodiments of the invention, a method and system for managing an interactive video display system, are thus described. While the present invention has been described in particular embodiments, it should be appreciated that the invention should not be construed as limited by such embodiments, but rather construed according to the below claims.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification345/156
International ClassificationG06Q30/00, H04N7/18, G06F3/00, H04N7/16, G09G5/08, G09G5/00
Cooperative ClassificationH04N21/25891, H04N21/44218, H04N21/41415, H04N21/812, G06Q30/02, H04N21/4223
European ClassificationH04N21/414P, H04N21/81C, H04N21/258U3, H04N21/442E1, H04N21/4223, G06Q30/02
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