Here’s a slightly creepy Black Friday shopping story. OK, maybe more than slightly creepy.
If you’re standing in front of a mannequin in a shop today, and you feel like it might be looking back at you, well, the fact is that it just might be.
Italian mannequin maker Almax has taken customer research to a whole new level.
The firm’s “EyeSee” model comes complete with a camera eye that is, in it’s own way, spying on you as you shop.
“I don’t like the word spy. Because they’re not spying,” Almax CEO Max Cantanese told the BBC. “We don’t collect any image. We don’t recognize any people. We just give statistics.”
Cantanese says the mannequin has a facial recognition system inside its eye. The idea is to track demographic data about who is passing in front of the mannequin.
Privacy advocates are, understandably, a bit nervous about the EyeSee.
But Cantanese notes that shops these days are filled with all kinds of security cameras recording your every move. He insists the EyeSee isn’t doing that.
“Let’s say that I pass in front of the mannequin. Now, the mannequin is not saying that Max Cantanese is passing in front of the mannequin. It’s just saying to the retailer that an adult, male, caucasian passed in front of it at 9 p.m., and stayed for two minutes.”
Almax won’t say exactly how many EyeSee mannequins are on the job. But Almax does say five companies in the United States and Europe are already using them.