Intel, Microsoft Toying With Digital Signage That Can Interact With PDAs

Intel and Microsoft are working on what is truly the next generation of digital signs. These devices will be able to share content—both ways—with phones. But they could also use facial recognition to identify repeat customers without the benefit of loyalty cards or RFID. The cameras embedded within the displays would simply recognize faces the system has captured before, ultimately having the potential to identify those consumers.

The camera software will initially be designed to differentiate between genders and to detect products the customer has touched. That information could signal a coupon to be sent to that consumer's smartphone. None of these options is rocket science. But they do show a concerted effort to leverage the kind of data that is accessible in-store and, ironically, much harder to capture online. Think of it as Big Brother with a sales commission.