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Entries in analytics (4)


Prism Skylabs Marries Loss Prevention, Customer Analytics

The line between security and customer analytics is becoming more and more blurry. And, according to an article on NRF's website,, retailers are beginning to realize that for them, the two can be one in the same.

Case in point: Brown Shoe Co., which has partnered with Prism Skylabs to gain cutting-edge loss prevention technology and priceless customer analytics data for its Famous Footwear and Naturalizer stores.

The system combines next-generation video surveillance with detailed customer analysis, enabling stores to track the path that customers take through their stores, what merchandise they’ve touched, where and for how long.

“We can hire marketing companies that do this by sitting outside the store and observing. They count customers, look at linger time and where customers are going,” [vice president of asset and revenue management Jon] Grander says. “With Prism, we not only do this in real time but over an extended period of time. We can also watch thousands of customers across different platforms and gather some very interesting information to improve our store designs, promotions and what our sales associates are doing.”

As budget-conscious companies seek for ways to do more with less, technology like Prism Skylabs only makes sense. We expect to see more security-marketing convergence like this in the coming years.


Photo Hack Day Yields Awesome Facial Rec Applications

Developers at last month's Photo Hack Day in New York City presented some amazing facial recognition technology, all built from publicly-available APIs, like's.

Check out the video above, which introduces Facialytics, a service that blends the best of facial recognition and computer analytics to track a large group of people's emotions over time. With just an infrared camera and facial rec technology, Facialytics analyzes a crowd's reactions to, say, a commercial, movie, concert or presentation. In the right industries, this information will be invaluable.

HoneyBadger is another interesting use of facial rec that created some buzz--both good and bad--at Photo Hack Day. The app uses your laptop's camera and facial recognition technology to recognize when someone is at your computer. If it determines that the user is not the laptop's registered owner, it'll send you an alert via text message. Meanwhile (and here's the contentious part), it'll run the user's image against your friend's Facebook photos in an attempt to identity him or her.

Although HoneyBadger only searches your friend's photos, it could go a step further and search all public Facebook photos. And that, in my opinion, is where things would get creepy.


Computers Can Spot Phony Reviews Better than People

Computer software, developed at Cornell, is able to spot fake reviews with almost 90-percent accuracy. 

Volunteers were asked to write fake postive reviews to supplement actual certified positive reviews of 20 Chicago hotels -- 800 reviews were tested in total.

After three human scorers weren't able to consistently spot the fake reviews, the software got its turn.

Applying rules, such as truthful reviews typically mention specific aspects of the hotel and decievers use more verbs than nouns, the computer was able to spot the fake reviews with 89.8 percent accuracy.

The researchers are quick to point out that the software only works for positive Chicago hotels for now. In the future, they hope to apply this software to both negative and positive reviews of restaurants and products.


Unique Combination of Technology is Bad News for Criminals

I know I'll be sleeping more soundly tonight.

Police in my town of Addison, Texas, have a new weapon in the fight against crime. The innovative new process uses surveillance cameras, proprietary software and equipment recently installed at the police department's dispatch center. The program, developed by Stealth Monitoring Inc. of Dallas, operates at no cost to taxpayers and is scheduled for a nationwide roll-out this year.

"Video analytics and trained operators are what sets this program apart from others that use video technology," said Norm Charney, Stealth Monitoring CEO. "The interaction of software and human intelligence allows the Stealth control room to cost effectively monitor thousands of cameras from its customers. Any unusual motion or activity instantly draws the attention of the operator by placing an individual camera's live video on the computer screen for quick action."

How does it work? When Stealth employees see suspicious activity, rather than making a phone call and describing the suspect or their actions they can instantly "push" the technology to the Addison Police dispatch center and provide police with the same live video they are observing. The dispatchers determine when a suspect's actions warrant dispatching officers.

Responding officers are provided with real-time suspect descriptions, actions, vehicles and changes in location. Not only will the video provide better information, but it will improve safety for officers as well. A dispatcher might see a suspect hide behind a dumpster just as the officers arrive on the scene and can relay the suspect's movements to the officers in real time.  

Addison is upgrading its dispatch center so that they will be able to provide video directly to patrol cars, PDAs or even cell phones of officers who are responding. In addition, the video provides an after action recording feature that can include post-event descriptions of the vehicle used in the crime, video of the criminals and often the vehicle's license plate number.

"This program puts Addison on the cutting edge of technology that will make our city safer and our police officers more effective," said Ron Davis, Addison Chief of Police. "As more businesses and other venues take advantage of this type of technology our dispatchers and police officers will be able to respond more quickly and effectively making it harder for criminals to commit crimes or get away with crimes they have committed."

"Monitoring video feeds isn't new," Charney said. "What is new is our ability to actively live monitor thousands of video feeds from our customers in a cost-effective manner, identify suspicious activity and notify authorities quickly. This is taking technology beyond the event based monitoring that some companies offer. While video from security cameras can be helpful, immediate notification and confirmation of suspicious activity as well as a video feed directly to the police is a major advancement in the reduction of false alarms and crime."

Businesses pay for the monitoring service and equipment. The equipment from Stealth is installed for free at the police department and allows Addison to create a video fusion center without the expenses normally associated with this technology.

"In today's tough economic times a program that provides our department with state-of-the-art technology, monitoring services and video monitoring equipment at no cost to taxpayers, made this a win-win proposal," Davis said.