Retailers are increasingly using facial recognition technology in stores, suggests Kim Brunhuber in a CBC News report.
The technology is primarily being used for security purposes, scanning shoppers against databases of known shoplifters so that administrators can be automatically alerted when the latter enter their stores. But it’s also increasingly being used for customer recognition, with companies like FaceFirst adapting their facial recognition systems for in-store deployments that can help retailers to track customer behavior and even facilitate rewards programs, such as by offering deals to regular customers; meanwhile, facial recognition systems are also being designed to identify customers’ demographic information in order to tailor in-store marketing.
Brunhuber cites UK research indicating that 30 percent of that country’s retail stores are using the technology, and notes that Ottawa’s Public Interest Advocacy Centre suggests the situation is likely the same in Canada. Meanwhile, the CEO of another facial recognition system provider asserts that his company’s technology is already ‘being used by major Canadian retail and coffee chains.’
While there are privacy concerns emerging along with the technology’s development and deployment, some, like FaceFirst CEO Joe Rosenkrantz, suggest that the benefits to consumers will outweigh any privacy costs. Speaking to Brunhuber, he describes a system in which, through in-store facial recognition, “you receive a text message with a coupon offering you a discount that you would not normally be eligible to receive.” It’s a concept that could prove popular as the technology continues to make its way into more stores; in any case, such a system is sure to catch shoppers’ attention.
Source: CBC News
May 5, 2016 – by Alex Perala