Bricks-and-mortar retailers adapt online tracking techniques for the physical world

In 2016 reports surfaced that bricks-and-mortar retailers were beginning to adopt physical-world analogues to the tracking techniques long used by their online counterparts. In a report, Computer Sciences Corporation claimed that about 30% of retailers were tracking customers in-store via facial recognition and cameras such as Intel's RealSense cameras, which can analyse facial expressions and identify the clothing brands a customer is wearing. Intel noted that the purpose was to build general profiles in order to predict what customers are interested in and display targeted ads. In another such attempt, Hoxton Analytics uses cameras in locations such as London's O2 centre and The Dandy Lab to categorise people based on the style and size of their shoes, claiming to be able to identify a customer's gender with 75-80% accuracy.

Writer: Thomas McMullan
Publication: Guardian
Publication date: 2016-01-1