Thu, Feb 19th 2009 11:23pm
Facial-recognition technology has long been touted as a magic bullet for law enforcement and surveillance, though most such systems have proven to be essentially useless. Vendors have been trying to extend their reach outside of surveillance, though, into areas like advertising. One is now pitching its wares to the hospitality industry, saying that the roughly $30,000 system can help hotels recognize repeat customers. The system still has shortcomings: it's only 80 to 90 percent effective when people "move through a chokepoint facing the camera - ideally looking up into it and well lit", such as an escalator. That's the same sort of issue that's dogged facial recognition in law enforcement and surveillance: it just doesn't work that well. And for $30,000, it seems doubtful that many hotels will want to buy the systems, when, if they really wanted to get to know their most valued customers, they could do so for free.
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