NEC Develops Facial Recognition for Marketing Strategies

December 11, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Marketing strategies are taking a new technological turn. A new marketing service has been developed by NEC which makes use of facial recognition to evaluate the age and gender of customers.

This data, along with the dates and times that the customers visit the stores, is stored and evaluated to determine customer behavior and visit frequency. The analysis is then used to provide more customer-friendly sales that can boost the market share.

NEC’s cloud computing technology provides the service in Japan and is relatively a low-end technology, as it requires only a PC and a video camera. The approximate cost of rigging this in stores is about $880 or 70,000 yen per month per store.

Those retailers who have several stores can make use of this technology to analyze their customers’ attributes and enhance their sales strategies. The service can also detect customers who frequent multiple stores.

NEC employs a face detection and comparison engine called NeoFace, which ranks top in tests by the USA’s NIST. They are also looking to develop other services like intruder surveillance using facial recognition technology.

“Retailers can find out how many customers visit their stores at each time of day, and what customers’ attributes are. This enables them to fine-tune their sales strategies. For example, the data could be used to run campaigns targeting men and women in their 20s.”

The facial data, encrypted in real time, is converted into characteristic data sets for analysis. Since characteristic data can’t be restored, there is no danger of the information being leaked out.

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