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Mall Info Kiosk Recommends Targeted Shops Using Facial & Body Scanning

New technology in information booths has shoppers worried that they may be giving up more information than they would like to.

Karen Summerson
Karen Summerson on October 12, 2012. @KJSummerson

A new kiosk in a Seoul mall has people speculating whether this type of advertising is too invasive – comparable to “Big Brother” or technology from The Bourne Identity.

The International Finance Center Mall has 26 total kiosks which are composed of a large LCD screen, two cameras and a motion detector. Facial recognition software approximates the shopper’s gender and age and makes suggestions based upon search terms. For example a middle-aged woman might be directed to clothing or jewelry stores, or a man looking for food options could be directed to a steakhouse. The creators of the software, two companies from SK Holding Co. in South Korea, are helping brands identify their clientele. Ahn Jae-heon, a senior planner for SK Marketing & Co., explains:

Advertisers in big public spaces only have a general idea of who they’re reaching and they can only target ads at big audience segments. This can offer more focus and customization for them.

The companies prepared for this trial run by creating a database of 5,000 facial profiles that the software could use to analyze and compare with kiosk users. They are also assuring skeptical consumers that the software is a closed loop system and that shoppers won’t be asked any personal questions. The kiosks will be tested for 3-6 more months before SK Holding Co. will start advertising the technology to stores.

WSJ

Image via: tovvirtual

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