Retail Stores Are Now Using Facial Recognition to Catch Shoplifters
In the last couple of years, many retail stores have been incurring huge losses resulting from shoplifting. However, with the new technology of using cameras with high quality face-recognition, they have been able to identify shoplifters and, in several cases, big spenders.
How does this works? When shopping, you are likely to see cameras snapping your picture even as you walk in or even browse the shelves before sending them to a database called shoplifters, which is to be provided by a local police. In case of a match, the managers or security guards of these stores will get an instant notification on their phones. This will prompt them to look for you whenever you are, chase you or even kick you out. For instance, during a pilot study, the program was installed in elegant jewelry store in Rotterdam, Netherlands, making it to lock itself whenever suspected shoplifters approaches.
In some cases, stores can use similar software when building their own databases of not only shoplifters, but also deep-pocketed and loyal customers, then targeting them with special customer service or even discounts. This ultimately will help improve the security of these retail stores whenever they are operating in the market.
The technology has been used in many occasions in the past. For instance, the military and police did employed the technology of face recognition for years, whereas Google and Facebook use it today when you are tagging your friends in personal photos. However, the year 2016 has been instrumental as many retail stores are using the technology to curb the rising cases of shoplifting by their customers. For instance, a recent survey done by U.S.-based IT company CSC in the UK found that more than 1 in every 4 British retailers are now using face recognition technology on its customers. This is the highest when compared to other countries across the world.
Unluckily, CSC does not have comparable survey data on the U.S. retailers; however, with the trend, many US retail stores will incorporate the technology very soon. For instance, FaceFirst is a company that offers this technology. The company had reported that Walmart was testing this face-recognition system to use in the previous year. FaceFirst Company has provided this technology to many companies in the last couple of years.
In the US, the law does not restrict retail stores from using the technology except Florida, making it one of the most likely technologies to be adopted. While majority of retail stores still believe that this is the technology of the 21st technology, only 7 percent of the American still consider the technology as intrusive. From the survey of 2,000 consumers who did responded to the questions, only 56 percent admitted they don’t know about the face recognition technology. In addition, 75 percent of them believed that it was intrusive. Despite the statistics, many retail stores across the world still use the technology today in their retail stores.
In conclusion, this is an interesting Catch-22 situation between managers of retail stores and their customers since they will never tell their customers that they are using face recognition unless there is a demand.