Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Future of Retail?

I read this story about a new company being launched last night and had a scary vision for the future of retail....

Video analytics startup Prism Skylabs announced today that it has raised $15 million in Series B funding.
The company launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2011. It says it can use footage from existing security cameras to provide retailers and other businesses with “web-style analytics”.

For example, the company says it can provide graphics showing footpaths through the store, heat maps of customer interest, and customer counts and conversion."
So, as I understand it this software will follow people through a store and say, "well she lingered about 36 seconds in front of the frozen vegetables before making a selection or 72% of customers walked down the milk aisle but only 12% of customers walked down the soda aisle."
I can see where this would be EXTREMELY valuable to retailers with large data repositories (Walmart, etc) and I think this company is really onto something.  However, I fear the day when this company merges with a Groupon of the future.  
Imagine walking down an aisle in your local Walmart/Target and getting hit with hologram-style pop-up ads throughout the store (now, that I've mentioned it I'm sure someone will build that app and raise $100 million in Silicon Valley next week).

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