Why your best isn't the best

Digital media company Amscreen could be using its facial-recognition software to target ads at individual shoppers—but instead it's just collecting long-range customer data, for clients such as the U.K.'s Tesco supermarkets. Why isn't Amscreen using its software to the fullest?

No demand
"People talk about this because it's exciting," says Mike Hemmings, Amscreen's marketing director, but advertisers aren't yet asking for it.

Crazy logistics

By the time the system is able to identify the correct ad and display it, "it becomes irrelevant," Hemmings says. The customer has moved on.

Scared consumers

"Many people haven't gotten their heads around what we're offering," Hemmings says. "Like any of these new technologies, you need to take it slowly."

Will Amscreen ever unleash its full technological capabilities? "We won't ever do it, in all likelihood," says Hemmings. Even if consumers come around and processing times shrink? "It would be wonderful, but I don't think it's going to happen." According to Hemmings, the overall benefit would be negligible.

[Illustration by Peter Arkle]

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