Japan's newest billboards come with facial recognition, predicting what you should buy next
TOKYO - Face recognition technology in Japan is changing the way advertisers do business.
Imagine walking through your local mall or shopping center seeing billboards that advertise to your exact interests. Everywhere you walk, electronic signs flash products that cater to your individual tastes.
A Japanese electronics company, NEC, is creating a facial-recognition system that will be inserted into billboards to identify the sex and age of people that pass by. The new billboards will display general advertisements that are suitable for each specific person.
Each billboard will have a camera and flat-panel monitor built in. When a consumer walks by, the billboard uses the new facial-recognition system to determine gender and age to within ten years. The information is sent to an internal computer which would than pick a generalized advertisement to display. The longer a person stands in front of the sign's camera, the more accurate his or her specific advertisement is.
The facial-recognition system is called the Next Generation Digital Signage Solution,and it has become an advertiser's dream. NEC's vice president of strategic alliances, Takeshi Yamamoto, says the technology will allow advertisers to develop more successful campaigns.
"For digital signage that relies on generating revenue by selling advertising, there has always been a need for advertising agencies to know who is watching,” says Yamamoto.
The one concern about this new technology is that it's an invasion of privacy on the individual consumer. NEC officials insist that anonymity is a main priority and facial images would not be stored.
"NEC's Ad Measurement technology was developed to be totally anonymous. While the technology captures data as it relates to gender and age, it does not capture or store any footage or information as it pertains to a specific individual,” says Yamamoto.
This new technology is currently being tweaked and tested in Japan, and is expected to have test trials in America before the end of the year.
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