Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tracking customers using video

In addition to theft protection and security, tracking people in stores, airports and other public places helps understand traffic patterns, store layout, how much time people spend in various areas, and what aisles and even what SKUs are getting the most/least attention. They might also be used to evaluate salesperson/staff interactions with customers.

And there are a number of ways to track people. You might use their WiFi signals, or track them using a store app that uses location tracking or beacons, or even have someone viewing the in-store video. These could be difficult or expensive to implement or might require that people “opt in.”

Netra is working on a technology that looks at surveillance video and tracks customers based on physical characteristics (color or style of clothing, hair, etc.) They don’t have a way to attach a name or shopping history to the images, but they can track your movements through the store. They claim about 80% accuracy depending on camera quality and things like lighting, camera angles, etc.

Since the service doesn’t use facial recognition there may be less concern over privacy issues – people are used to cameras tracking them in stores for security, so it may not be much of an issue. If customers could get something out of it, it might make it even more acceptable.

Interesting technology. Can you see a use in your business for this technology? 

Or is it just too “creepy”?

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