A store that remembers you: Facenote founder Eduardo Rivara - on face recognition for better service, not security

Greet customer by name

- What is the main feature of Facenote?

"Facenote is a technology

The main thing is that we are 100% focused on user experience and privacy.For facial recognition, we always ask customers to provide a selfie so that they can be recognized in the store.It works like this: we ask shoppers to provide a selfie to connect to the system, which will beSo it's up to customers to choose whether or not to participate in the program.And the next time they return to the store, they will be recognized, greetedBy name, consultants will have information about their previous purchases and possible bonuses.The client should always receive something for participating in the program.

Photo: Anton Karliner / Haytek

In addition, shopping is very easy to build ourtechnology. Facenote works as a service, and the program can be installed on any device that is already in the store: tablets, iOS, Android, screens.

- How does the buyer provide a selfie?

- It depends on customer experience (customerjourney - "High-tech") that you want to build in the store. Buyer must provide a selfie. He can make it himself and, for example, send or post to Instagram with a special tag. Or using a special device in the store. Usually, an iPad or a selfie booth that can be offered to customers works very well: there is proper lighting, and the buyer is already in place.

The Facenote system allows you to remember the client from their selfie. Photo: Facenote

How to explain to the client what will be done with his selfie

- What does the buyer say when he takes a selfie? That his face will be analyzed and will be recognized by the cameras in the store? It is clear that you have user agreements, but what do you tell buyers about privacy?

"It's very important.In order to comply with the GDPR, we can't hide our actions.First of all, we offer bonuses to the buyer — take a selfie and join the program.When a customer takes a photo, we need to tell them about the rules for using it — not in the form of a user agreement that no one reads.We need to carefully explain what we're going to do with it, for example, that these selfies will beAnd that all information can only be recognized in this store of that brand.The whole concept of GDPR is not only to follow the law, but also to explain to users how they will beUse their data: why we offer to take a selfie, what we will do with it.


From May 25, 2018 a new law on protectionpersonal data in the European Union - General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. This law is directly related to Russia, as it is extraterritorial. In other words, not only enterprises from all 28 EU countries should follow its requirements, but also those organizations that are involved in the processing of personal data received from the European Union or having access to it. Many subjects of the Russian business fall under this criterion. First of all, these are enterprises that have branches in the European Union. These are also subsidiaries of international organizations working in our country. And, of course, service companies providing IT services to European consumers.

Face recognition technology usedextremely wrong over the years for safety. People have what I call the fear factor. You immediately think: “Oh, they use it for surveillance and their security.” This opinion is normal. In general, people believe that facial recognition will be used to combat theft, and not to improve their lives. Now we are trying to shift this focus to improving customer experience. And for this we need to very clearly explain what we are for the company and what we offer.

Photo: Anton Karliner / Haytek

- You started work before the introduction of GDPR. Has something changed after the law?

- We are a young company, started two years ago,when the GDPR was already formed. And respect for the privacy of the user and the buyer has been in the spotlight since the very beginning. Because the core of our business is user experience, not security. Because of this, we developed technology around the user. Not only to provide information to customers, but also to provide service to customers. We focused on CRM integration, on the ability to delete our data. When the GDPR came into force, we only needed to change some details. But our mission already corresponded to the GDPR.

- Many companies that are engagedrecognition of persons, as a result, leave the public field and begin to work for the state and private companies in the field of security. Is it more difficult to work in open mode when many technologies and frames are unavailable?

- On the one hand, this is the case; many companies have gone tosecurity and to state orders. But it also opens up opportunities and markets for companies like ours. Because of the focus on privacy, we often come across this: customers turn to us and ask to combine service improvement for customers with safety. We can say no to them - since we decided to comply with the GDPR, and for this we need a person’s consent. It is impossible to use technology to track down thefts; not a single thief will give such consent. So you can stand on one of two sides. You are either engaged in security, or doing service.

- You can not get something, and more?

- Sometimes you can, some companies try. I think they walk on thin ice. To offer users a good service, you need to earn their trust. We focused on this, and this distinguishes Facenote from other similar startups.

“The system alerts consultants through their tablets: this is Eduardo”

- Face recognition allows you to find a person inInternet and link his photo, for example, with a social network profile. Potentially, you could find out a lot more about store shoppers. Are you doing this or planning?

- This is an interesting question, and some companiesdoing such things. But if you collect as much data as possible, it will be difficult for the customer in the end to use it. You can find online profiles, but what to do with them next? It would be useful for marketing, but we are developing our technologies for this.

Photo: Anton Karliner / Haytek

At the moment we are focused on the closeda system that recognizes you as a buyer, if you want it. All the information you provide to the brand, your previous purchases, preferences will be visible to consultants in the store. The idea is that only consultants can improve your experience. If you buy online, for example, on Amazon or on any website in the world, it immediately recognizes you through cookies. The site knows your name, bank card details, and delivery address. And this is good. We accept it. So let's think about recognizing faces not as a strange way to find you on the Internet, but as a physical way of letting the store recognize you. In the old days, you went to a store in your area, and you were remembered by sight. Called by name. We want to get it back. It is unlikely that people want stores to look at their pages on Facebook or Instagram. Why should they do this? I always try to take the position of a buyer and understand: do I want this myself? This is my decision making model. If it's good for the user, then we do it. If not, try to avoid.

- Yes, but you are talking about personal returncontact. In your case, personal contact comes from technology - the robot remembers you, not the seller. Where is this line, how can automatic facial recognition be considered the return of personal relationships?

- We spent a lot of measurements about the system instores and learned that when such a model is integrated with personal contact, it works amazingly. For example, we work with Melissa Shoes, a Brazilian company that sells shoes all over the world. When we conduct trainings and help consultants understand how technology works, sales skyrocket. They themselves say that selling shoes is boring. It's always the same thing: what size you have, try it on. They want new technologies. They offer buyers to take a selfie and connect to the system - and explain how it works. When the buyer returns, they will recognize him. The system alerts the consultants through their tablets: this is Eduardo.

Face recognition system in the network of Melissa Shoes shoe stores. Photo: Facenote

Great retail is changing very often now.consultants. We help them maintain personal contact with the buyer in these conditions. To do this, you need both: the recognition system, and the person who uses this data. Now everything can be found online, and when you go to the store - go for sensations. You want to touch the goods, you want someone to tell about them in more detail. Facenote is trying to give more knowledge to the consultants and improve the shopping experience of customers.

- Retail is developing a lot now.technological solutions - new payment methods, face recognition and so on. Most brands will not be able to integrate all of them, chaos will begin. Why shops should choose you - more precisely, your type of technology?

- This is also a great question because at the endAfter all, facial recognition isn't that important. Facial recognition is simply a way to personalize and identify customers. There are many technologies that try to solve this problem, and the ones that win are the ones that cause the least inconvenience to users.

And face recognition is about how people distinguisheach other. If I see you tomorrow, I will find out, because I will remember your face. It `s naturally. Therefore, face recognition is the most natural and least difficult way for stores to recognize their best customers. And we believe that the future goes to this.