UK SUPERMARKET CHAIN Tesco is going to install screens in its petrol stations that can be used to see whose faces are walking down its aisles.
According to a report at the Grocer news website, the screens will appear at Tesco's 450 petrol stations, and will be used to work out how old people are so it can throw targeted ads at them.
Yes, life is indeed grand. Tesco is working with Amstrad baby Amscreen, which already has a place at some petrol stations and already serves adverts.
The Grocer reckons that Tesco will use the screens to scan faces. It will use the information that it gets to determine a person's age and sex. Depending on a shopper's age and sex it might choose to offer them adverts for sushi or candy bars, we suppose.
The system is called Optimeyes, which is a play on words that's so delicious that it should be part of Tesco's Finest range.
Apparently it does not store any information about faces, but merely uses its snatched information to profile people. We can probably all agree that there is nothing sinister about that.
"Yes it's like something out of Minority Report, but this could change the face of British retail and our plans are to expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible," said Amscreen CEO Simon Sugar. "We're extremely excited to call Tesco a screen network partner."
Tesco is glad to be taking on the kit, it told the Grocer, and is looking forward to using scanned information to "interact" with customers.
Tesco told us that the kit is used by other retailers already, and does not scan eyeballs or faces, or look to identify anyone in any way. It does profile them by sex however, and which one of three age groups they belong to.
"We're always looking to work with partners who provide innovative ways to enhance the customer shopping experience," said Peter Cattell, category director for Tesco petrol stations.
"This new dynamic screen product from Amscreen provides the perfect means for us to do this. The ability to tailor content based on time and location means it can be extremely useful and timely for our customers." µ