Merchandisers already track our cyber choices (efficiently, following the clicks on our keyboards) and our in-store decisions (inefficiently, with glum market researchers in every aisle). Now high-tech acuity is going offline. Soon, in-store sensors and motion trackers will watch your footsteps, see what your hands do, know when you hesitate—and when you don't.
The obvious initial response to this is outrage. The right one is delight. This technology, alert to body as well as brain, wants to respond to our behavior, not change it. And it could have amazing applications.
You've heard of Kinect, the Microsoft motion-sensing device that enhanced the Xbox. And you've heard of Google Analytics, the dashboard for website usage statistics. Shopper Tracker—launched recently by the scrappy Argentine start-up Agile Route—is a combination of both. Its spatial recognition software, plus heat sensors and proprietary algorithms, analyze customer movements. It can show which store shelves are most popular, which items are most touched, which taken and then put back.
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Posted December 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm
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