UK shops will soon be using mannequins to spy on you

This might seem like the title of the next big hit spy novel. Unfortunately, it is not. Three  major UK stores are testing beacon technology installed in mannequins. This has for its main purpose to give nearby customers information on what the mannequin is wearing but also gives the shop information on the customers.

screenshot-www iconeme com 2014-09-02 17-30-08

VMBeacon technology used in the mannequins comes from Iconeme, a tech and design company. The app developed will alert users who are near the mannequin (at least 50 m) via Bluetooth what clothes are on offer or what the mannequin is wearing.

Less invasive than other technology that spies on consumers, this app is only addressed to people who download the app. However, what is done with the data the store obtains when a user signs in is another story.

This system opens up the digital world of shopping online to the real world of shopping which was until now a big problem to retailers. These past years, retailers were searching for ways of engaging the customer in the real world in the same way as they do on line. Although, the idea brings technology to a new level in the shopping area, this will not revolutionize the way we shop. Indeed, it will only save costumers the bother of looking at price tags on the clothes by receiving it directly on their phones.

The app lets the user define what data they are willing to share, however, how many people actually check what data they are giving away while downloading an app ?

 

Victoria Lafay
Law student in digital economy

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