Feeds

Big Beardie is watching you: Lord Sugar gets into facial recognition

Most people's faces won't fit, we're guessing

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Lord Alan Sugar is building a huge outdoor network of advert-slinging, face-detecting cameras.

When complete, the bearded tycoon's creepy surveillance technology will monitor up to 50 million Europeans and then beam tailored ads at them.

The Apprentice star's company Amscreen runs a huge digital advertising network of 6,000 video screens placed in public across the Continent and Britain. The firm is in the process of launching a new system called OptimEyes, which will not only suss out who is looking at the screens, but just how effective the ads are based on the amount of time punters spend gawping at the plugs.

It's claimed cameras installed in the Amscreen displays are capable of reliably identifying the gender and age of advert watchers as well as the "volume" of viewers at any given time - The Reg presumes "volume" is the number of people looking at the adverts rather than an attempt by Lord Sugar to determine how fat they are.

The "unique face detection technology" was originally developed by "automated audience measurement" biz Quividi.

Amscreen claims to show adverts to more than 50 million people a week. Although Lord Sugar's son is the overall boss of the project, the man fondly dubbed The Hairy Walnut by El Reg is its chairman. Apprentice winner Yasmina Siadatan also works there and is in charge of selling screens to the NHS.

Advertisers often wonder how many people actually look at their plugs and worry they're wasting their cash on useless campaigns. The new system aims to make sure the ads are more effective, or at least flagging up the rubbish ones that no one wants to stare at.

Simon Sugar, Amscreen CEO, said: "Brands deserve to know not just an estimation of how many eyeballs are viewing their adverts, but who they are too. Through our Face Detection technology, we want to optimise our advertisers campaigns, reduce wastage and in-turn deliver the type of insight that only online has previously been able to achieve."

Amscreen has more than 4,000 advertising screens in the UK alone, placed mostly in "close proximity environments" such as forecourts, outside corner and high-street shops and around doctors' surgeries. Some 30 million Brits see the screens every week, we're told.

The company has also rolled out its screens into Germany, Poland, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Austria - and lobbed the following video about the facial recognition technology onto the web:

Amscreen sent El Reg this link for anyone who wants to know the "full extent" of Lord "You're fired"'s network. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.