Cyberlink running retail facial biometrics trials in Asia and plans to launch U.S. trials soon

Cyberlink is planning to bring its biometric facial recognition technology to retailers in the U.S. in anticipation of an opportunity in a market Chinese competitors are struggling to enter, the Nikkei Asian Review reports.

The company says its FaceMe biometric software can personalize shoppers’ experiences without compromising privacy by applying emotion analysis. The application estimates the age, gender, and facial expression of customers, as well as what they are looking at, without maintaining a database of customer images or personal information, according to the report. Potential benefits include information on customer demographics, the popularity of store sections or items, and customer reactions to products, as well as identification of criminals or VIP customers.

“Smart retail is one of the most [popular] industries at the moment because [companies] want to create a very personalized experience in brick-and-mortar stores,” Richard Carriere, U.S. senior vice president of global marketing at Cyberlink, told the Review. “Tech helps them stay relevant now that a lot of people shop online.”

Cyberlink recently announced it has shrunk its facial recognition model by 98 percent, allowing the technology to be deployed to a wide range of edge devices.

Laurie Du, an analyst with market research firm Mintel, says augmented reality makeup tools have already been increasingly integrated into physical stores, and consumer attention is beginning to return to offline channels.

“At the end of the day, offline stores are still the perfect channel for brands to connect with consumers,” Du says. “Essentially, an actual experience is not easily replaceable with photos that are found online.”

Before FaceMe was launched in Asia, its biometric technology was already in use by Cyberlink subsidiary Perfect Corp., which offers a virtual makeup app which has been downloaded 600 million times. Perfect Corp. also formed a partnership with Estee Lauder for virtual lipstick sampling in 2017.

Cyberlink and its partners have already launched pilot programs in retail settings in Taiwan and Japan. With many competitors coming from countries like China and Russia, which may face more barriers or resistance from the U.S. market, Carriere says he expects experiments with stores in America to launch very soon; possibly within the next few months.

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