Company to unveil 'smart shelf' in 2015 to see who's buying what - WNEM TV 5

Snack company to unveil 'smart shelf' in 2015 to see who's buying what

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Mondelez International, the company that makes snacks like Chips Ahoy, Oreos and Triscuits, said they'll use facial recognition software to see who's buying what by 2015.  (Source: CBS 5 News) Mondelez International, the company that makes snacks like Chips Ahoy, Oreos and Triscuits, said they'll use facial recognition software to see who's buying what by 2015. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
As you scour the shelves at your grocery store picking up snacks, you don't expect to be watched. But in just a couple of years, that may all change, thanks to a new 'smart shelf' that's currently being designed. 

Mondelez International, the company that makes snacks like Chips Ahoy, Oreos and Triscuits, said they'll use facial recognition software to see who's buying what by 2015. 

"Facial recognition only requires two things: a camera and a computer with processing power that can basically figure out, is this a woman, is this a man?" said Ken Colburn with the Data Doctors.

He said it was only a matter of time before a corporation researched how to cash in on new technology. 

So how would a camera placed on a shelf recognize who's buying what?

"They're basically comparing images to a vast library of images to basically tell them this person is younger and female, this person is older and male," Colburn said.

Mondelez International said it's completely anonymous and only focuses on adults. They said the images aren't saved, and they only track gestures to pick up products.

"Short of having a person literally spying on people as they're buying the product in the store, they're essentially doing this through technology," said Colburn.

"A company would absolutely be going bonkers over this information because it's real-time market research at the time of purchase," said Brian Slutsky with ThinkTank media and marketing. He said companies can use this information to better target their advertising. While it may seem like big brother's watching, Slutsky said with social media, they already are.

"They're already targeting ads toward you and your age and your lifestyle and your likes and dislikes, so it's sort of already happening," Slutsky said. 

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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