A smart shelf area in Walgreens, Chicago is part of a new camera system that tracks shoppers.A smart shelf area in Walgreens, Chicago is part of a new camera system that tracks shoppers.Staring at the soda in the supermarket refrigerator?Or do you want a pint of ice cream?The camera may be watching you.
But it was not there when you stole it.
These cameras want to know about you and what you bought.This is a new technology that is being promoted to retailers and the camera will try to guess your age, gender or mood when you go out of date.The purpose is to use this information to show you online advertisingTailor the store video screen for shoppers.
Some companies are selling the technology to retailers to bring it into physical stores to better compete with online competitors like Amazon. Amazon already has a lot of information about customers and their buying habits.With the store camera, you may not even realize that you are being watched unless you happen to notice a pennysized lenses.
This has raised concerns about privacy.
"The creepy factor here is definitely 10 out of 10," said Pam Dixon, executive director of the non-profit World Privacy Forum, which studies privacy issues.At the National Retail Federation trade show in New York earlier this year, a smart shelf on the mood media display tried to detect "joy" or "fear" when people stood in front of it "--The store can be used to measure information about the response to a product on the shelf or an advertisement on the screen.Cineplex Digital media shows a video screen that can be placed in a mall or bus station and tries to judge whether someone is wearing glasses or a beard, which in turn can be used to sell ads for new frames or razors.
The screen can also be placed on the drive-through.For example, a minivan may get a home advertisement when it enters a fast food restaurant --Size meal on the video screen menu.Currently, the camera is only in a few stores.
Kroger, with 2,800 supermarkets, is testing cameras embedded in price marks on shelves in two stores in the suburbs of Cincinnati and Seattle.The video screen on the shelf can play ads and display discounts.The camera guesses the age and gender of the shopper, but the information is anonymous and the data is not stored, Kroger said.
If the test results are good, the company says it can expand it elsewhere.With more than 8,000 pharmacies, Walgreens has installed cold doors with cameras and sensors in six locations in San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Bellevue.Instead of usually allowing customers to see the transparent glass door inside, there is a video screen showing the content of the advertisement and the cooler.
There is a camera above the door handle that can try to guess the age, track the iris and see what you're looking at, but Walgreens says the features are now off.The company says the cameras are currently used to sense when someone is in front of the cooler and count the number of shoppers passing.It declined to say if other features of the camera would be turned on.
"All of these enhancements will be carefully reviewed and considered based on any consumer privacy issue," Walgreens said .".Advocates of the technology say that by showing shoppers discounts tailored for them or attracting their attention to the products being sold, the technology may benefit them.But privacy experts warn that even if the information collected is anonymous, it can still be used in an invasive way.
For example, if a lot of people are paying attention toso-Healthy dessert, but don't buy it, says Ryan Calo, the store can put it at the checkout so you can see it again, "maybe your willpower will collapse ", professor at the University of Washington Law School and Union UniversityDirector of Technical Policy Laboratory"Just because a company doesn't know who you are doesn't mean they can't do things that will hurt you," Calo said .".This technology can also lead to discriminatory practices such as raising prices when older people walk in, or pushing products based on your perceived emotions, such as-Dickson of the World Privacy Forum added that if the camera thinks you look sad, take a medication for depression."We should not collect the emotional state of anyone," Dixon said .
"I don't like it at all," Johnson said .
Ray Ewan, another customer, said he noticed the shots while drinking Diet Coke, but was not worried because the camera was hard to avoid."There is one in every corner," Ivan said .".Not all retailers are keen to add embedded cameras.
Sam's Club, which is testing shelves with digital price labels, is cautious about this."I think the most important thing you do with this technology is to make sure people know," said Sam club CEO John fner ."."You don't want people to be surprised at how you use technology or data.
Jon Reily, vice president of business strategy at consulting firm Publicis, said.Sapient said it is possible for retailers to offend customers who may be shown to advertise for different gender or age groups.Still, he expects that as the technology becomes more accurate and cost-effective, consumers get used to it, embedded cameras will be widely used in the next four years.
Now, he says, "We're still on the creepy side of scale