Shopping Mall CIOs Try Out Facial Recognition Software

Shopping mall CIOs want to know more about their customers
Shopping mall CIOs want to know more about their customers
Image Credit: Kal Omari

So if you were the CIO for a shopping mall, what would you want to know? You’d want to know that all of your servers and networking gear was secure. You’d want to know what the next “big thing” in technology is going to be. You’d also want to know just exactly who your customers at your mall were. This last question might be the hardest question of all to answer. Anyone can go to a mall, visit one or more stores and then go home and the mall CIO would never know. Well, that’s all about change and it’s going to change because mall CIOs are starting to deploy facial recognition software to keep track of you and me.

What Facial Recognition Software Can Do

So what could mall CIOs do with facial recognition software if they really wanted to? If they went all out, they could know our names when we walked into the mall. They could watch what stores we go to and what we buy at them. Once they had this information, they could then send us promotional material in order to try to encourage us to come back to the mall once again. However, mall CIOs are not going to do this because it would creep us out. If they did, then malls would probably experience a backlash from the people who attempt to protect our privacy.

However, mall CIOs have started to roll out facial recognition software in their malls. They are using this software to detect shopper’s facial features and individual’s travel paths. This is all being done anonymously – they will know that somebody went somewhere, but they won’t know who it was. Once the mall CIO has collected this data they can then process it using artificial intelligence software. What this can tell them is what the traffic patterns in their mall are, the performance of their workers, and how customers are reacting to things like displays and marketing material.

Mall CIOs have specific objectives for what they want to accomplish by using facial recognition software. Questions that they need answers to include understanding who a shop’s customers are, where in the mall these customers are going, and, of course, how long they spend there. The delicate balance that the person with the CIO job is trying to strike is to find ways to provide better service and support. At the same time the person in the CIO position does not want to come across as violating customer’s privacy. Facial recognition software is how mall CIOs are dealing with fast-changing consumer tastes and the exploding growth in e-commerce.

Next Steps For Facial Recognition Software

The use of technology to better understand the people who shop at a mall actually started several years ago. Initially mall CIOs started to use data that they were able to collect from mobile phone apps in order to identify where their customers lived. The result of this is that retailers were able to determine the income levels of their shoppers and how best to target their advertising.

The use of facial recognition software now moves this type of data collection to the next level. This will happen even if the mall CIOs collect the data anonymously. One thing that mall CIOs will now be able to do is to analyze customer’s faces in order to determine if they are delighted or disinterested in products and displays in the mall. The result of this is that the mall CIOs will now be able to determine what is working – and what is not. The thinking is that instead of spending to market to individuals, mall vendors can now analyze collective patterns of behavior.

The value of facial recognition technology starts to become obvious when mall CIOs start to use it to follow customers as they make their way through the mall. Even though each customer will remain anonymous, the facial recognition software has the ability to record what stores customers visit, how long they stay in each store, and when they leave a store. Although facial recognition systems could be used to track shoplifters, mall CIOs are reluctant to do so. The reason for their reluctance is because there is currently significant opposition to using facial recognition software in public places.

What All Of This Means For You

Mall CIOs have one wish: they’d like to know more about the people who are visiting their malls. The good news for them is that because of the importance of information technology, the technology that they need to make this happen is now freely available to them. This is why mall CIOs are now in the process of implementing facial recognition software. Their challenge going forward will be to balance privacy against valuable data.

Mall CIOs who have implemented facial recognition software systems can now detect when people enter the mall, what stores they go to, and what they buy. The data about shoppers is being collected, but it is being collected anonymously so that people don’t feel that their privacy is being invaded. Mall CIOs have very specific questions about their customers that they would like to have answers to; however, at the same time they don’t want to appear to be violating anyone’s privacy. Mall CIOs have been trying to find out more about their customers for years. They originally started out tracking people’s phones using apps to collect data on where they lived. With the use of facial recognition technology, mall CIOs will now be able to tell if a given display in the mall attracts attention or not from passing customers. Facial recognition technology can provide mall CIOs with a great deal of critical information about their customers, but they have to careful to not violate their privacy.

Technology has finally come to the mall. Mall CIOs are starting to deploy facial recognition software. This allows them to anonymously track people at their malls, determine where they shop, where they go, and when they leave. Using this information mall CIOs will be able to create a more enjoyable mall experience for their customers. As they move forward, mall CIOs will need to find out how to get the most value out of their facial recognition systems without going too far and exceeding the privacy boundaries of their customers.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think people will start to stay away from a mall that is known to be using facial recognition software?

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