Leveraging Intel’s AIM Suite, SceneTap – a new app for smartphones – uses cameras with facial detection software to scout out local bars. Without identifying bar patrons, it posts information such as the average age of a crowd and the ratio of men to women, helping bar-hoppers decide where to go. More than 50 bars in the Chicago area now participate.
Powered by Intel software and running on NEC displays, engineers in Japan have developed billboards that are capable of identifying a shopper’s age and gender as they walk past. If ears are showing, there is an 85% chance the subject is male, according to Intel.
The benefits of this technology are obvious. Sharper targeting prevents consumers from being subjected to a barrage of irrelevant messages, improving the return on marketing investment. And by making the experience more personalised, brand engagement and satisfaction are likely to increase.
More than advertising
However, facial recognition technology’s possibilities go beyond advertising. For instance, Think Computer has launched Face Cash – allowing customers to “Pay with your phone. Sign with your face.” Consumers register online, linking their Face Cash account to a bank account. The consumer uses the app's homepage to access a barcode that contains a digital image, uploaded during the registration process. Once the merchant scans the barcode, the customer's picture appears on the point-of-sale screen. The merchant can then verify the customer's identity and complete the transaction. Small scale now, but potentially the future of secure mobile payments?
Sberbank, Russia's largest retail bank, has gone a stage further. It is testing ATM and self-service technology designed to perform facial recognition, read fingerprints and check voiceprints to determine whether users are lying. By employing such technology the bank hopes to combat fraud losses.
Privacy advocates will be concerned these technologies represent more ways for companies to gather personal data under the radar without people’s permission or even knowledge. Properly and sensitively deployed, however, they have the potential to reduce Financial Services companies’ operational and marketing costs and, most importantly, offer a smoother, quicker and more bespoke customer experience.
By Yvonne Byrne, Executive Advisor in the UK