Emotional Analytics software analyses facial expressions. It’s remarkable. What’s it all about, and does it have real-world business applications?
Our facial expressions revealed
We all make faces. It’s one of the most powerful ways to reveal what we’re feeling. In the 1970s Dr Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen coined the Facial Action Coding System, FACS, to pin down every human facial expression in existence. But the first real Emotion Analytics systems were called Facial Recognition Systems, FRS. At first very basic, now they’re in use all around us, whether we notice it or not.
Airports and Border Control use it, and big casinos were early adopters, keen to keep cheats out. The tech has moved ahead fast and now there’s much more than basic facial recognition on offer. Our age, gender and emotions are up for grabs, with software perfectly capable of figuring out our moods.
What’s the latest in facial expression recognition tech?
Experts say the global Facial Recognition market is about to go completely mental. The estimated income from the sector in the US alone is an eye-watering US$6.5b by 2018. Fujitsu have already started distributing licenses for Facial Recognition software, which costs less than your average smartphone. And you can fully expect prices to fall fast as demand rises and competition heats up.
Emotion Analytics has masses of potential business uses, from home PC and bank security to bricks and mortar retail. Interestingly Fujitsu are testing EA in Aussie department stores. The jury is still out, and the results of the test are awaited with great interest worldwide.
As a business, need you bother with EA?
Imagine if you could identify your customers as they enter your premises, and also pin down how they’re feeling. The Californian company Emotient’s software, for instance, can identify micro-expressions – the tiny flickers of emotion we reveal unconsciously. It even knows when you’re smiling with your lips but not with your eyes.
Aside from the potential security benefits, will the info help you create a better experience for the people you interact with in a business context? Say you run a shop on the high street. You might be able to use EA to tailor a unique, personalised experience for individuals, given the right in-store tech and staff training. It’s a great way to apply personalized marketing to real life, in face-to-face situations.
Playing devil’s advocate
On the other hand, playing devil’s advocate, surely well-trained retail staff can pick up on people’s emotions and act accordingly? It’s an innate skill most humans have and we’re very, very good at it!
EA in advertising and marketing
It’s the marketer’s holy grail. Emotion-based advertising is the ultimate in direct marketing, letting you tailor specific adverts to individuals based on how they’re feeling at that time. Every customer really is a unique individual, with their own needs and responses, and you know exactly what to deliver to make or keep them happy. It looks like in-store advertising could benefit in all sorts of ways.
It’s fascinating stuff. Feel free to comment and let us know how you think emotional analysis software.