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7-11 rolling out facial recognition in its 11,000 Thai stores

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Smile, you’re on camera. Your friendly, neighbourhood convenience store, 7-Eleven store is rolling out facial recognition technology. The Japanese-owned franchise has 11,000 stores in Thailand.

The convenience store chain says they’ll will roll out the technology in a number of different ways, including to identify regular and loyal customers, monitor stock levels of products and better analyse customer traffic trends.

The same technology will then be able to suggest products to customers at check-out, based on your past purchases.

Of course the technology will be used to keep an eye on its employees.

The technology has been developed by US company Remark Holdings, which claims its facial recognition software has a 96 percent accuracy rate, although they admit it hasn’t been tested in a mostly Asian environment.

Remark Holdings CEO and Chairman, Kai-Shing Tao said, “We are honored to jointly partner with CP Group and capitalise on the excellent opportunity to expand Remark’s KanKan Artificial Intelligence and Data Solutions platform and monetise our 1.5 billion current users. There is massive demand in Asia for AI technologies. This investment will help us achieve Asian market penetration and rapidly drive accelerated growth, revenue, and profits.

With facial recognition still in its early days, the technology raises a lot of questions with regards to privacy. But Renmark claim that no images of faces will be stored permanently on servers and that only images of facial features are recorded on secure and encrypted servers.

“No human faces or images ever leaves the KanKan system or goes on the public network.”

So far the Thai 7-11 chain hasn’t announced a start date for using the new technology. And if you’re already feeling a bit uncomfortable about the new use of AI in the stores, remember you’ve already been on security cameras in 7-11 stores for more than a decade.

 

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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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