Blog: Katy AskewMondelez is watching you

Katy Askew | 21 October 2013

Mondelez International is preparing to launch a pilot programme to test a "smart shelf" system to track shoppers - and then "engage and influence" them.

The programme uses Microsoft Windows Kinect technology, a Mondelez representative has told ABC News.

"Our goal is to understand how shoppers see, scan, spot, show interest and select products from the shelf in the store. We can also engage and influence the purchase decision by delivering a targeted shopper experience. For example, we can deliver audio or play a video based on demographics, distance and even the time of the day," the spokesperson explained.

In order to dispel any concerns the project could be intrusive, Mondelez emphasised the targeting would not be personal - but rather based on broader demographic characteristics such as age and gender.

Microsoft is not directly involved with Mondelez's plans. However, it is interesting the news comes just a few weeks on from the controversial suggestion Microsoft was considering providing advertisers with Xbox One Kinect data collected in people's living rooms. Microsoft moved quickly to deny the reports.

I'm not one for conspiracy theories... But I did see 'Minority Report'. Frankly the idea that I am so easily tracked puts me off Facebook and other social media (I was not overly impressed when I was delivered a targeted advert for a product, right after buying it online). Meanwhile the Snowden revelations clearly raise question marks over the level of scrutiny we are placed under from various governments. I am therefore a little dubious - as a consumer - about inviting this level of surveillance into the grocery store.

Now, where's my tinfoil hat?

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