The eyes of dummies are upon you
November 25, 2012
More and more eyes are on shoppers these days, and not all of them belong to humans. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Store mannequins outfitted with hidden cameras are scouring the aisles, using facial recognition software like that utilized by police and airport security to record data from passersby. The cameras gather data on the age, gender, and race of shoppers, providing retailers with the ability to personalize offers for customers.
Demand for the $5,000 device, called the EyeSee, has been high, according to its manufacturer. It reportedly provides better data than standard overhead security cameras.
Max Catanese, chief executive officer of the 40-year-old mannequin maker, said he would not name clients because of confidentiality agreements. But at least five major chains are using the technique.
Nordstrom, a U.S. chain of more than 100 department stores, says facial-recognition software may go a step too far.
“It’s a changing landscape, but we’re always going to be sensitive about respecting the customers’ boundaries,” said spokesman Colin Johnson. And some say profiling customers raises legal and ethical issues.