A two-day pop-up store on London’s Oxford Street, run by Ebay, is using face pattern detection technology to help Christmas shoppers what they really should buy and put under the tree for loved ones.
The idea is that the biometrics tech – touted among other things as capable of measuring emotional responses – will help settle on choices.
The store was open Tuesday and today. As Business Insider reports, Ebay teamed up with the US-based sensor tech company Lightwave to run the short-term event. Visitors use cubicle/pod thingies at the back of the shop, and poke away at a touchscreen as the video analytics camera keeps an eye on their responses. They look through a series of 12 gift ideas and measure mood as well as dwell time for each item.
The cloud-based system then generates an email to the user, with three suggestions based on what the data says about them.
It’s interesting, I guess, in a gimmicky, maybe this kinda sorta works way. If you go to trade shows, I’m sure you’ve seen face pattern tech for the last 10 years and seen it peg men as women and make lotsa wrong calls on emotion. Then again, it ALWAYS nails me as a grumpy old guy.
Video analytics has not seen the sort of widespread marketplace adoption that was expected when it first came on the scene – at least not in retail.
One thing I do like, and is maybe more interesting in a lot of ways as a visual communications tool, are the real time data visualizations by the booth, that show shopper sentiment. That could be really interesting as a piece of generative video art, but also behind the scenes for retail operations.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.