Retail Executive

JAN-FEB 2018

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GE T TING S T AR TED Williams states that without question, building an image database is the hardest yet most important part of im- plementing a facial recognition solution. There are baby steps retailers can take to prepare for their facial recogni- tion strategy, and building an image library is key among them. "For example, if your business already has a mobile app, one way to build your image library is to have your customers upload a profile photo and save it in a central cloud system," advises Williams. "Work with your team now to identify other ways to build an image library so you're ready to hit the ground running when your busi- ness reaches the technology adoption point." Companies have to consider privacy issues, such as how to obtain photos of your customers and how to obtain their approval for you to use and store their like- ness. Also, the information needs to be securely stored. "At this point we're seeing where legislation lags behind the innovation," states Williams. "Some states such as Illinois, Washington, and New Hampshire are attempt- ing to put laws in place that prohibit entities from cap- turing biometric information about people without their consent. There are legal and privacy implications that companies must consider, and they need to find a good balance between security and privacy." From a development standpoint, Williams explains that cloud solutions such as Amazon Recognition, a ser- vice provided by Amazon Web Services, are an option From a customer experience perspective, imagine being able to pick your customer out of a crowd. Imagine being able to determine whether your customer is happy, sad, confused, etc. Retailers can use facial recognition tech- nology to identify how many people enter the store as well as their age, ethnicity, and gender, allowing them to better understand foot traffic in order to serve appropri- ate offers to those customers. This technology provides a unique way to connect with the customer, yet customer identities are kept anonymous. Indeed, facial recognition allows retailers to improve the customer experience in new ways, as emotions drive spending and loyalty. Skeptics exist, however, as some retailers aren't sold on the idea that such technology will help associates better identify customers' needs simply by receiving a digital notice of their facial expressions. And their con- cerned customers may view this as an invasion of priva- cy. Yet, organizations managing research programs and customer experience activities can use facial recogni- tion technology to analyze people's emotional reactions at the point of experience. This knowledge not only gives researchers a greater understanding of behavior patterns but also helps predict likely future actions of those consumers. Such information can drive business decisions, resulting in improved product and service of- ferings and experiences. FACIAL RECOGNITION RESOURCES MIT COMPUTER VISION NEWS ▶ news.mit.edu/topic/computer-vision ▶ Sign up for their newsletter IEEE CONFERENCE ON COMPUTER VISION AND PATTERN RECOGNITION, CVPR ▶ cvpr2018.thecvf.com ▶ CVPR is the premier annual computer vision event comprising the main confer- ence and several co-located workshops and short courses. ▶ The major professional organization is the Technical Committee on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (TCPAMI) of the IEEE Computer Society — www.computer. org/web/tcpami/ If retail ex- ecutives are not considering computer vision and facial recognition as a part of their overall business strategy, they're already behind. K E S H A W I L L I A M S S o f t w a r e E n g i n e e r, C h i c k - f i l - A RETAILEXECUTIVE.COM JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 20 EXECUTIVE Exclusive retail feature By E. Harris THE FUTURE IS FACIAL RECOGNITION

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