Retailers testing facial recognition options

11/28/2012

A host of facial recognition technologies are finally offering real solutions for retailers.

According to Retail Wire, IT firm NEC launched a facial recognition system called NeoFace in Japan that profiles customers, determining their gender, age, and how frequently they shop at a retailer's store.

NeoFace uses a security camera and an internet browser connected to NEC's cloud computing technology, and retails for US$800 per month.

Watch this video from DigInfo on NEC's facial recognition technology:

The system is ideal for retailers with multiple stores because it can detect repeat customers in all locations.

"Retailers can find out how many customers visit their stores at each time of day, and what customer's attributes are," said an NEC spokesperson in an interview with Japan's DigInfo.

Meanwhile, a similar technology called EyeSee features a camera embedded in a mannequin's eye that can determine a customer's age, sex and race. It can also block out store associates.

See video of the EyeSee mannequin here:

Facebook is already using facial-recognition technology to assist in photo tagging, said Retail Wire.

This technology could help retailers suggest items to customers based on their previous purchasing habits, as well as ensure that window displays and store layouts correspond to customer traffic by time of day.

Privacy concerns with this technology have led to discussions on encrypting the biometric data and not storing the data captured.

So far, a few dozen retailers in Europe and the U.S. are reportedly using the EyeSee mannequins.

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