Elevator Ads that Watch You

September 2020

Next time you enter an elevator with a monitor displaying news, weather, building information or advertising it may be watching you.

Elevator monitors are good at communicating information.  Advertising can be an effective way for businesses to reach the local marketplace and promote their offerings.  Buildings allow advertising in return for fees used to benefit the community.

Technology now allows monitors to “watch” their audience.  Cameras integrated with or within monitors detect the presence of people and display ads based on the current demographic.  The technology, as currently used in some condo buildings, will identify the demographics of its current audience – male or female, and approximate age – then display targeted advertising.  Some ads are displayed when only women are in an elevator.  Different ads display when men are in the elevator.  A mixed audience, and groups containing children, would see different ads.  Advertising can be customized based on current weather conditions, geographic location or physical address.

One of the first condo buildings to utilize this technology is in the Queen St. West and Dufferin St. area of Toronto.  No facial recognition technology is being used and video information is not recorded, stored or shared with advertisers.  The technology is currently limited to counting people and providing a percentage breakdown by gender.  The company offering this technology returns eight percent of advertising revenue to the condo corporation.  Revenues are estimated to range from $28,000 to $506,000 over a five year period.