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Knowing Your Customer’s Emotions With Facial Recognition — Are Companies Using This Technology?

It’s more than just applying it for security reasons

Photo by geralt from Pixabay

The global facial recognition market was valued at more than $3.8 billion in 2020, with a forecast growth of 17.2% to reach $8.5 billion for 2025.

It’s a huge market and it’s being used both for security and marketing challenges. You may know this technology as means of surveillance, but it’s much more than that.

Here’s the basic idea: our face shows our internal emotional states and by looking at our facial expressions we’ll know what’s happening inside (on an emotional level).

Usually, we don’t control our facial gestures so we’ll have a more genuine reaction to the products and services shown this way. We want to know how they feel moment by moment, instead of just applying a survey after experiencing our content.

So which companies are already using this technology?

Snapchat’s own software development

Screenshot from Google Play Store

The messaging company with multimedia support (image, video, and augmented reality filters) is positioned as the preferred social platform for young people between 15 and 28 years old. Users share around 400 million video and image messages every day.

Snapchat is innovating in the area of ​​emotional exploration. Recently they started focusing on measuring the emotions of groups of people gathered at an event.

So whether it’s a concert or a political speech, Snapchat’s software can recognize the audience’s emotional level during the whole event, moment by moment. Not only can they measure how the public is feeling in general but it can also pinpoint how they felt at a certain moment during the event.

If you then cross-reference it with what the speaker said at that moment or what song was being played, you’ll get valuable information about your customers.

Basically, Snapchat is able to get a live feed of people’s emotions throughout the event.

Think of producers, managers, or event hosts at these gatherings. They would certainly want to have this information at hand, right?

They can make changes if they see that the public’s sentiment is straying from their original intention and try to reverse the situation. In a way, they’re communicating with a big organism and adapting to it throughout time.

They’re getting data that they didn’t have access to before and most of them didn’t even know it was possible!

Hyundai’s application to human-machine interactions

Retrieved from Wikipedia

The South Korean auto company is incorporating facial recognition technology into its cars. With an internal camera, it can interpret the different emotional states of the driver and react accordingly.

For instance, if the software detects that the visual attention is diminishing and that the driver is showing signs of fatigue, it can play a specific sound to wake him up.

Photo from Hyundai Motor Group Tech

Hyundai wants to enhance the driving experience through a more empathetic interaction with their onboard intelligence system. In the future, they want the AI system to have more spontaneous reactions throughout its interaction with the driver.

For example, if the driver shows joy on his face, the AI ​​can tell him a joke or talk to him in a more casual tone. It could tailor its communication depending on the driver’s mood at that moment.

A more appealing AI this way, don’t you think?

More humane even.

To achieve this, they seek to improve how the AI recognizes the driver’s emotional state more efficiently. Otherwise, they could be misinterpreting your emotions and trying to communicate without taking into account how the driver is actually feeling.

To avoid making a mistake, they‘ll have to include more sensors, especially around the driver’s seat. They’ll be able to measure additional physiological aspects such as heart rate and skin conductance. This will generate a more effective evaluation of the real state of driving and therefore a more congruent interaction of the AI ​​system.

All of these technological innovations are ultimately designed to make the driving experience more enjoyable.

Uses in Spain

I live in Spain and I work in a startup focused on emotional detection through facial coding, so I’m more aware of the local industry’s development.

Currently, in Spain, facial recognition technology is being used mainly in the field of security.

CaixaBank allows you to withdraw money from an ATM only by registering the customer’s face. That is, without having to enter the PIN. In another bank, BBVA, you can open a bank account with a selfie. Facial technology is paving its way into this industry, especially to facilitate the user’s experience in managing its assets.

Photo by El País, Access thanks to facial recognition at Menorca airport

This technology is also being used in the airline industry. Aena, along with Air Europa, is allowing its passengers, at the Menorca airport, to board only by identifying their facial features. That is, without having any additional documents.

You don’t need to use your boarding pass and there’s no human identity check.

It’s still in a trial period, but it’s already showing great benefits during its initial implementation phase.

It might lead to a much more comfortable flying experience.

The future of emotional analysis through facial coding

The most outstanding advances in Spain (and throughout the world) are happening in the area of ​​biometric detection. Very few know about the use of facial coding for an emotional analysis. So there’s a need to show that there are other possibilities for this technology as well.

It’s not all about lie detectors, you know.

One of the things we’ve developed at our firm is an online platform that will enable you to create studies and measure people’s emotional reactions to your content.

We have a platform that allows the client to design and launch their own tests. They can measure how people are reacting to certain types of stimuli (visual, auditory, or audiovisual material).

Once companies know how participants react to their products and services, they can be more efficient at how they target their consumers.

In a way, we want to bring emotional measurements closer to people.

How can you create a stronger bond with your customer if you don’t know how they feel about you?

Marketing departments should have ongoing research all the time. Both small and big product launches have to be included in this research process.

Companies would like to know the mood of their clients for any type of work they do. Whether it’s for an ad, creating a magazine cover, editing movie trailers, or for any other product or service they deliver, people react to all of this.

Why not change the way we do research and make it a constant and common practice among these different industries?

Actions that are taken with evidence can have a more lasting effect and be more strategic. Plus, you’ll increase the chances of success with your target audience.

Facial recognition software is already a reality.

Now the question remains: is your industry prepared for it?


By Pavle Marinkovic on .

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