"Sometime in the next few weeks, French billboards will be able to speak to your mobile phone - but only with your permission. People with certain kinds of phones who download a special software program and say they want to participate will receive digital advertising when the phone is near the billboards. It is the latest twist in the budding niche of mobile marketing, wherein the cellphone becomes a conduit not just for communications but also for commerce. ... The difference with the new project, said Albert Asseraf, director of strategy, research and marketing at JCDecaux, the outdoor-advertising company behind the project, is that consumers consent to receive alerts about digital advertising as they move through the city"
Personally I don't like the idea of receiving any form of advertising on my cell phone, but have to admit that the concept behind the French billboards is one of the best that I have heard of. The system allows you to opt-in and lets you even specify your preferences. The best part is that you have to install a special application, which means if you are like me and don't like advertisements on your cell phone, then you just don't install the application. Though I am scared that scheming carriers might pre-install it on your cell phone, they might entice you with free ring-tones and movie trailers, and in return collect money from the advertising companies. Let's hope that this technology evolves into an in-store product information system. Nowadays while shopping I occasionally take photos of the product packaging, so that I can research it once I get home. A system similar to the French billboard can make that task easy.
Source: ars technica