Developed by ad agency Redpepper, the companies custom-developed cameras operate within a retail store environment to recognize customers using facial recognition. Users would first have to download an app that authorizes what the agency is calling Facedeals, to verify the individuals most recent photo tags to map the features of the face. This would then be used to identify you at participating locations that have the Facedeals cameras installed. From there, any number of things are possible. You can set-up automatic ‘check-ins’, opt for companies to send you relevant deals that can be used ‘then and there’, on the spot advertising through the one device most people will be carrying with them in a store, their smartphone.
The idea behind the company isn’t new. Using check-in’s and specials to crack the local marketing nut has been popularized by Foursquare and other app’s but the incentives and ultimately the customers perceived value just wasn’t quite there to make the idea go mainstream. This is what the technology will do, by allowing seamless integration and delivery of carefully timed messages with relevant offers, the perceived value of the service of something like a Foursquare would go up exponentially, thus making it attractive to everyday users.
The one tiny issue that might come along with such technology, and something that perhaps halted continued growth of local mobile apps like Foursquare, is the ‘freaky factor’. People believing that by using these services they are announcing personal information that they either perceive to be, or really are sensitive and could put them at increased risk to thieves, opportunists, stalkers, ex’s and could be used against them in say custody hearings, or by the freaky ex-girlfriend/boyfriend that won’t go away and use the information to better stalk you with.
A bit about the cameras themselves. They are designed to operate using only a 110 volt wall outlet and a wifi connection. They boast open-source software built using, among other technologies, Rasperry Pi, Arduino, OpenCV and the Facebook Open Graph API which makes them pretty much plug and play.
According to the company website about Facedeals availability, they are still finalizing testing and funding.