UK retail giant to use face-scanning tech to target customers with tailored ads

uk retail giant to use face scanning tech

Brits filling up their motors at gas stations run by supermarket giant Tesco will soon be subjected to tailored ads generated by face-scanning technology installed beside the cash registers.

Made by digital signage company Amscreen, the OptimEyes technology uses a camera to establish a customer’s age and gender before serving up ads based on their demographic profile. It can also take into account the date and time of day, as well as a customer’s purchase.

Although the technology has been around for a while, it’ll be the first time it’s been used on such a large scale by a UK retail firm.

Amscreen chairman Simon Sugar described it as being “like something out of Minority Report,” adding, “This could change the face of British retail, and our plans are to expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible.”

The company’s website explains how the technology allows an advertiser to discover precisely how many people saw its ad in either a single location at a certain time of day, or across a much wider area for the entire duration of an ad campaign.

“Having all this real-time data, we can then offer it to our clients and give them access to our portal that allows them to modify and change campaigns as they’re playing out,” Sugar said.

With privacy campaigners raising a collective eyebrow over Tesco’s plans to collect data from customers at the cash register, a spokesperson for the chain explained that no images will be stored by the system, adding that Amscreen’s technology does not include eyeball scanners or facial-recognition software.

Mannequins

Tesco’s revelation that it intends to start using the face-scanning system brings to mind a report from last year about several high-profile clothing stores gathering customer data using a camera embedded in the eye of a mannequin located in a store’s display window.

The EyeSee technology, developed by Italian mannequin manufacturer Almax, analyzes the facial features of people passing by the store, “providing statistical and contextual information useful to the development of targeted marketing strategies.”

And in a move that would likely cause steam to blast from the ears of privacy campaigners, Almax was reported to be testing manneqins with mics so retailers could find out what customers were saying about their latest line of clothes.

[Image: Igor Stevanovic / Shutterstock]

Below: A demo of Amscreen’s OptimEyes tech.

Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Photography

From DIY to AAA, here's how to take a passport photo in 6 different ways

If you're applying for a passport or renewing one, you need to submit a photo in your official application. There are strict guidelines, but fortunately, it's something you can do at home. Here's how to take a passport photo.
Home Theater

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.
Computing

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.