Tesco to introduce in-store facial recognition tech for advertisers

Supermarket giant Tesco has revealed plans to install futuristic screens at 450 petrol station forecourts in order to allow advertisers to determine the age and sex of shoppers as they queue at tills.

The facial recognition technology is being deployed in conjunction with digital signage specialists Amscreen, owned by Lord Sugar, to allow targeted ads to be shown to specific groups of people.

Privacy campaigners are aghast at the move however, dubbing it an ‘invasive’ solution which strips consumers of their privacy, comparing it to scenes in the film Minority Report in which Tom Cruise is bombarded by personalised adverts as he strolls down the street.

Known as ‘OptimEyes the digital display advertising system incorporates built in cameras above the till to monitor people before it in real time.

This data stream is then made available to advertisers to allow them to discern how successful their campaigns have been and adjust it throughout the day.

Defending his technology Sugar said: “Yes, it’s like something out of Minority Report, but this could change the face of British retail and our plans are to expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible.

“The OptimEyes does not store images or recognise people but just works out gender and sorts customers into one of three age brackets.”

The Amscreen deal will see the technology in place for five years.

John Glenday

John Glenday is responsible for compiling The Drum's daily morning bulletin and ensuring that overnight breaking news is covered while you're still brushing your teeth. Can also make a mean cup of tea.

All by John