NEC has launched a $880 per month service in Japan that lets merchants profile customers using just a PC and video camera. The system uses facial recognition powered by the company’s cloud computing service to estimate the gender and age of clients, along with the frequency of their shopping expeditions across multiple locations. The firm developed the “NeoFace” tracking software in-house, claiming it was the highest ranked facial recognition system in NIST and that it plans to use it for other services like “intruder surveillance” in the future. NEC added that face data is encrypted so it can’t be “inadvertently disclosed,” and is strictly to help retailers fine-tune their marketing strategies.
Why I’m curious:
The big play up Google and Facebook’s sleeve is big data, they have it and other companies are attempting to snatch it up as well. It is becoming the greatest value asset one can have as the digital and physical worlds continue to collide together forming one Matrix-like world (see our post 2029: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact and Burberry’s digital store in London)
But before humans merge with the digital robotic community this application of face recognition can bring personalization to another level when it comes to consumer retailers. Imagine a store clerk that you have never met before knowing your name, age, gender, and what you previously have purchased at their store. With this information they could provide you and anyone else with that ultimate personalized shopping experience.