I Spy, With My Mannequin's Eye

Bionic Mannequins Spy on Shoppers to Boost Luxury Sales

“Any software that can help profile people while keeping their identities anonymous is fantastic,” said Uché Okonkwo, executive director of consultant Luxe Corp. It “could really enhance the shopping experience, the product assortment, and help brands better understand their customers.”

While some stores deploy similar technology to watch shoppers from overhead security cameras, the EyeSee provides better data because it stands at eye level and invites customer attention, Almax contends.

A few interesting peripheral observations about the concern that customers are being profiled and whether that constitutes an invasion of privacy. I think it’s similar to resistance to the photo-radar and red-light cameras I’ve seen here in the US: for some reason, when a person does it it’s acceptable but when a camera is involved, it becomes objectionable. People can observe you in stores, and it’s not like this information is private — anyone can estimate your age group, determine your gender (unless you’re Pat) and make a guess as to your racial makeup. (Though if you knew the greeter at the store was doing that and recording it, you’d probably find it to be creepy). So I wonder if there will be any formal objections, or if it will fall under the rubric of “irksome technology” mentioned at the end of the article.