Danielle Citron writes:
Bloomberg Businessweek reports on retailers’ use of camera surveillance to glean intelligence from shoppers’ behavior. RetailNext runs its software through a store’s security camera video feed to analyze customer behavior. RetailNext describes itself as the “leader in real-time in-store monitoring, enabling retailers and manufacturers to collect, analyze and visualize in-store data.” According to the company, it “uses best-in-class video analytics, on-shelf sensors, along with data from point-of-sale and other business systems, to automatically inform retailers about how people engage in their stores.” RetailNext’s software can integrate data from hardware such as RFID chips and motion sensors to track customers’ movements. The company explains that it “tracks more than 20 million shoppers per month by collecting data from more than 15,000 sensors in retail stores.” Its service apparently helps stores figure out where to place certain merchandise to boost sales. T-Mobile uses similar technology from another firm 3VR, whose technology tracks how people move around their stores, how long they stand in front of displays, and which phones they pick up and for how long. 3VR is testing facial-recognition software that can identify shoppers’ gender and approximate age. Businessweek explains that the “software would give retailers a better handle on customer demographics and help them tailor promotions.” What we are seeing is, according to 3VR’s CEO, just “scratching the surface as someday “you’ll have the ability to measure every metric imaginable.”
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