LONDON/NEW YORK: 175m consumers around the world will soon be able to interact with advertisers by using their smartphones to access messages via billboards and street furniture, a leading out-of-home advertiser has announced.

Clear Channel Outdoor, one of the world's largest outdoor advertising companies, said it plans to roll out its interactive mobile advertising platform, known as "Connect", to 75,000 sites in 23 countries over the next three months.

As reported by the Financial Times, it already operates about 20,000 interactive sites across the UK, Singapore, Belgium, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands and its planned expansion marks a significant move to tap into the possibilities offered by the worldwide adoption of smartphone technology.

By the end of June, its global network will see additional platforms in Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the US.

All these sites will be fitted with tags enabled for Near Field Communication (NFC) with a QR (quick response) barcode, which will allow users to scan their smartphones at billboards or static structures, such as bus shelters. Users in Latin America also will be able to interact with ads via SMS.

William Eccleshare, CEO of Clear Channel Outdoor, said: "We have made this investment because all our intelligence tells us this is what consumers want, to be able to engage with brands individually, immediately and effectively."

"We are bridging the online and offline worlds by combining our outstanding audience reach with personal engagement through mobile devices," he added.

The company claims that the technology will help advertisers to deepen brand engagement with consumers offering real advantages.

Interactive outdoor displays enable brands to provide consumers with additional and relevant information, but also serve to capture consumers' data, such as location, dates and times of usage.

Data sourced from Clear Channel Outdoor, Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff