While targeted advertising is commonplace for data-hungry online businesses, shoppers in retail outlets have up until now rarely been targeted with personalized ads. But this could soon change.
As German news Website heise online reports , German postal service Deutsche Post is currently trialling face recognition technology in 40 partner outlets in Berlin and Cologne. The software in the info displays, equipped with cameras, doesn’t directly identify the customers waiting in line, but rather determines their age and gender. Based on this data, calculated using an algorithm, the screen then displays age and gender-related ads. Deutsche Post is evidently deploying this technology without specifically informing its customers of this. Munich’s Abendzeitung newspaper, also reporting on the story, quotes Deutsche Post spokesman Dieter Nawrath as saying that the technology cannot collect any personal data and that only anonymous metadata is recorded. "That’s why there’s no need and no legal requirement to directly inform customers about it during the trial phase," concludes Nawrath.
Deutsche Post is implementing adpack technology, developed by Berlin-based company Indoor Advertising, which markets it under the product name "Realtime Targeted Digital-Out-Of-Home" . As has long been common practice online, and as other providers like TruMedia already do online, advertisers can leverage this digital signage system to play target-group-specific commercials.