Scanning cameras lock onto John Anderton’s face as he walks through a shopping mall. Using facial recognition technology advertisers clock his presence and begin an invasive barrage of “personalised” advertisements designed to entice, cajole and convince him to purchase the must have products on promotion. In this a scene from the 2002 movie Minority Report where Tom Cruise plays John Anderson, we are offered a vision of marketing in the future that is coming true today. Last week, Tesco, the UK largest supermarket, announced that it is installing hundreds of hi-tech screens to scan the faces of shoppers as they queue to pay. Facial recognition technology will then determine age, identify if the person is male or female and how engaged they are with the advert on display. Sounds spookily big brother-ish!
The advertising system, called the ‘OptimEyes’, can tailor content based on time and location, and will be rolled out into 450 Tesco petrol forecourts, reaching more than five million adult customers every week. Simon Sugar (Son of Sir Alan Sugar) the CEO of Amscreen, the company behind OptimEyes is optimistic about the systems ability to provide data to enhance the understanding of consumer behaviours. Using face detection technology to “revolutionise” the advertising industry Simon Sugar promises a step-change in advertising stating that “brands deserve to know not just an estimation of how many eyeballs are viewing their adverts, but who they are too. Through our Face Detection technology, we want to optimise our advertisers campaigns, reduce wastage and in-turn deliver the type of insight that only online has previously been able to achieve.”
Simon Sugar and the Tesco marketers that support and promote this big brother push-marketing approach are missing the point of today’s connected technology and the Connection Economy. They are failing to recognise the shift where old marketing methods are irrelevant. There is no doubt that the technology being used here is impressive and represents an important milestone but it’s application is woefully inadequate and being wrongly implemented. What is required is a mindset shift – the technology of the future has arrived but it is being implemented using old paradigms.
The world of connected things, the Internet of Things, combined with smart devices, wi-fi, broadband and massive storage in the cloud is enabling the step change. But this step change is not technology driven. The step change is a mindset shift around how technology is enabling consumers to interact, engage and form partnerships with companies. In the Connection Economy the consumer calls the shots and it is the consumer who invites the best brands and most trusted companies into their lives. Astute companies are using technology to build relatiosnhips not to push products and determine who is looking at their adverts. Which is like so old school!
One of the big trends for 2014 will be the explosion of smart wearable computer devices. This is an important exciting trend offering perhaps the most powerful engagement platform companies have ever had for building trusted relationships with customers. Companies that are not thinking how they can leverage and benefit from the ecosystems and Apps being created in this space are fast falling behind the competitive curve. As an example of how it should be done let me introduce Nymi Wristband, a smart wearable computer devices that recognises, encrypts and shares biometric data of the wearer. Like a fingerprint every person has a unique heartbeat rhythm, Nymi reads and recognises this rhythm. By using biometric information to validate a user’s identity the Nymi Wristband enables immediate and seamless recognition of who you are with other smart devices and connected objects. As Wired Magazine puts it:
… Continue Reading