Posterscope AI forecasts how Britain will get moving out of lockdown

Planning tool aims to give OOH advertisers key information at each stage of government's 'roadmap' for coming out of lockdown.

Regents Park, May 2020. Two people can meet in parks next week (Photo: Jeff Overs/BBC/Getty)
Regents Park, May 2020. Two people can meet in parks next week (Photo: Jeff Overs/BBC/Getty)

Posterscope has launched a new artificially intelligent tool that the Dentsu outdoor media agency claims can accurately predict how population movements across Britain will increase over the coming months.

PSMind, which analyses more than five million data combinations from multiple sources in real-time, forecasts how quickly people will return to moving around the country at each stage of the government’s “roadmap” milestones.

Using January 2020 as a baseline comparison, PSMind says mobility will be up to 69% on 8 March, when schools in England reopen and two people are allowed to meet outside again.

By 21 June, when all social distancing restrictions are expected to be rescinded in England, national mobility will have increased to 111% - of the level seen in January last year.

While it is unsurprising that people will move around more as the weather improves and lockdown measures fade, Posterscope believes the data will help out-of-home advertisers plan against key dates in the government’s roadmap, such as non-essential retailers that expect to reopen next month.

Prime minister Boris Johnson warned last week that the government’s roadmap dates are subject to change if Covid-19 case numbers do not sufficiently improve.

To reassure TV advertisers amid uncertainty in the market, broadcasters ITV and Sky have signalled that non-essential retailers would be able to defer booked campaigns for free if the government changed the planned 12 April date for shops to reopen.

The PSMind tool takes in data from sources including Oxford University, Google, the Department for Transport and Three Mobile, and also analyses weather forecasts, and international travel.

Posterscope has said it can use the tool (pictured, above) to forecast and understand national mobility levels, point of interest visits and traffic indicators with an accurate rate of up to 90%. It monitors England, Wales and Scotland, but not Northern Ireland.

Christopher Ho, Posterscope’s innovation director and creator of PSMind, added: “Throughout the pandemic we have tracked mobility levels and witnessed significant changes in people’s movements and behaviours. 

“But in order to create plans that capitalise on the increased mobility we expect to see as lockdown restrictions ease, we wanted to be able to predict not just how many OOH impacts will be available to advertisers, but where the audience movement is taking place at each stage of the Government’s roadmap.”

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