In a development reminiscent of Minority Report, we may soon see technology that small cameras to be embedded on TV screens – tracking who looks at the screen and for how long. Developed by TruMedia Technolgies and Studio IMC, this is seen as one more step towards towards sharper targeting of ads. Thanks to facial recognition software, the sensors can almost accurately detect the gender (unless you are dressed in drag, of course) and can also predict the age group.
Be it in malls or at the living room, a clutter of ads usually ranges from sanitary napkins to shaving razors to SUVs. Technologies like this may be the solution to sharper profiling of audience and hence almost ‘tailor-made’ advertising. ‘So a video screen might show a motorcycle ad for a group of men, but switch to a minivan ad when women and children join them, according to a rep from one of the developers of this technology.
Is it a boon for the ad industry or a case of Big Brother watching you? Some say that this is an invasion of privacy (especially since the audience does not know that they are being watched). The developers say that the information about the audience is stored only for the time it takes to process the ads. While all this nascent and may take a while for it to be an accepted practice, it reflects the changing nature of the advertising industry. It is also an example of data & technology being at the back end of a creative product.