Facial Recognition – Taking personalized offerings to next level

“Hi Mr. Bob, welcome back. We know you would like a table near the screen and close to the bar, based on your preferences from earlier visits. Would you also like to have pasta customized the same as last time?”
When was the last time you received such greeting in a restaurant? Chances are … never! Are such personalized experiences possible in near future? If yes, how do they work? What are the possibilities across the industries and are they ready?

 

The importance of facial recognition

Customers today are increasingly demanding more personalized engagement and the retail and hospitality industries are trying to match up with that customer expectation of targeted offers. In a typical retail environment, a critical success factor knowing what will attract prospective customers as they navigate the store. According to report by Oracle, recognizing guests without needing them to provide a name or show a loyalty card will lead to business upsides. 49% of restaurant guests said it improves their experience, and 31% said they are willing to visit more often. Emerging technologies like facial recognition (FR), artificial intelligence, virtual reality, etc. will enable creation of personalized experiences. With these emerging technologies, such personalization is more than doable today.

 

How does it work?

In the introductory example, these personalized experiences are made possible through facial recognition. A facial recognition based solution is a powerful combination of face and body-detection technology enabled through a web-based software that provides targeted marketing along with customer analytics for a better hospitality and retail experience.  The infographic below details how facial recognition based solutions can be utilized in a restaurant environment:

This is one of the many examples that depict how a retail or hospitality industry can benefit from facial recognition and advancement. Stated below are a couple more examples of the other benefits of applying a facial recognition based solution in the broad Hospitality industry:

  • A hotel can elevate its guest experience from such a solution as it can identify the guest through ‘facial data’ (a particular VIP or a repeat customer). This empowers hotel staff to greet guests with a personal welcome message and allows the hotel to follow up with customized promotions to augment guest satisfaction and ancillary revenue generation
  • Smart retailers can take the customer omni-channel experience to next level by creating consistent marketing messages for users who begin their journey on laptops or mobile devices. Retailers can understand customer preferences (who are registered with photo) whilst those customers browse on web or mobile and, based on facial recognition at stores, can continue to send relevant displays of offers or information in stores to customers.

 

Is the industry ready?

By 2022, the global facial recognition technology market is projected to generate an estimated $9.6 billion in revenue with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21% as per report by MarketWatch. As market demand increases and industry-specific needs arise, many companies are exploring how facial recognition can offer a competitive edge. Some companies have already initiated facial recognition based solutions and these solutions are creeping their way into our daily life. A California burger company has introduced AI-enabled kiosks for food ordering; banks in Macau now use facial recognition at some ATMs; Singapore’s newest air terminal offers automated check-in and bag drop based on face recognition; and there are a number of similar examples in other industries.

Companies need to be proactive so that they are not left behind, but they should take time to develop best practices and balance business benefits with customer interests. Some customers may not be comfortable with facial technology due to privacy concerns and data security. The key is to have clear value propositions for both business and customers. As evident from facial recognition implementation and surveys, customers embrace such solutions if they provide them strong incentives. Companies can expect to see continued implementation of facial recognition technology across industries and should take advantage and innovate with it.

Himanshu Singh

Himanshu heads presales function for Virtusa’s TMI business unit focused on key verticals - Travel, Manufacturing and Independent Software Vendor. Himanshu has over 12+ years of experience in IT Presales, Consulting and Quality Assurance. Prior to Virtusa, he has worked with leading companies such as RBS, SopraSteria and Infosys. Himanshu holds MBA from XLRI (Jamshedpur) and engineering from NSIT (Delhi). He is Six Sigma Green Belt certified, ISEB/ISQTB certified and has certification in HP tools.

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