Face biometrics expanding in retail on three continents with deployment, IPO plans
Retail applications of face biometrics for payments at checkouts and vending machines, and related technologies in advertising, appear to be gaining momentum, with a rumoured UK rollout, a Latin American infrastructure deal, and a Hong Kong IPO. Face biometrics are also part of an age estimation trial with ITL technology, which is being expanded by a UK retail chain. The moves come soon after the announcement of an initiative for face biometrics in retail from Mastercard and Payface.
Tesco is planning to introduce biometric payments through face or palm authentication by early next year, according to rumors reported by Charged Retail.
Customers of Tesco can already use native device fingerprint or face biometrics through the Tesco Pay+ app, which also provides membership account benefits and tracks their spending. The next move will reportedly see biometrics introduced at the point of sale.
Charged Retail quotes customer Tweets that suggest Tesco will not accept cash or cards, but no confirmation of such plans has come from the UK’s largest supermarket chain.
Vsblty partners on 50k-store rollout infrastructure
Vsblty and Latin American joint venture partner Winkel Media have inked a deal with AustinGIS to ease their path to a 50,000-store media network in the region.
The company has been partnering up to deploy its face biometrics and other computer vision capabilities for in-store advertising at convenience stores and other retailers in Latin America, including a deal with Grupo Modelo and Retailigent Media in 2020.
Vsblty Co-founder and CEO Jay Hutton says that the financing included in the deal will enable accelerated growth by its SaaS networks in the Latin America region and other markets. AustinGIS is providing edge computing infrastructure to support the solution on a subscription basis, Hutton says he is confidant Vsblty will reach its goal of 50,000 stores utilizing its technology.
AustinGIS was launched last year with funding from Vsblty and others to provide tech infrastructure for computer vision.
“The addition of AustinGIS to the program represents another milestone for the Winkel Media Joint Venture that was formed in early 2021 with Grupo Modelo, a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, and Retailigent Media, a Latin America-based media technology company,” adds Hutton. “With the combined strength of the three founding members Winkel has already achieved a number of key milestones along the way.”
Biometric vending machine-maker plans IPO
China-based biometric vending machine maker Beijing Ubox Online Technology has filed for an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, The Standard reports.
Ubox makes smart retail devices featuring facial recognition payments, and had nearly 103,000 vending machines deployed to 288 cities as of 2021, according to the report, which it says is the largest such network in the country.
According to the South China Morning Post, Ant Group-backed Ubox lost $204 million in the past two years, but attributed the results to the pandemic.
The terms and timetable of the planned IPO were redacted from documents seen by reporters.
Age check technology trial expands
UK retailer Bestway is expanding a trial of biometrics-based anonymous age estimation at Bargain Booze shop points-of-sale with Innovative Technology’s (ITL’s) MyCheckr.
The system was originally deployed in January as part of the Home Office sandbox trial, and is expending having proven its accuracy and been welcomed by retailers as a responsible step, a Bestway representative told betterRetailing.com. A biometrics-based estimation prompts store clerks to ask customers for proof of age for alcohol sales if they are estimated to be below a certain age.
The government trial has also been extended to June.