Facial recognition in digital signage: How industries will navigate the good, bad, & ugly in 2024

Use of facial recognition technology with digital signage for retail.


Ahead of every holiday season, the city streets are abuzz with shoppers. And shoplifters. Small or midsize, every store owner gears up on technology at around this time of the year. Their goal is to identify and stop malicious shoppers in their tracks.

Digital signage with embedded facial recognition technology emerges as the champion in such scenarios. Not without the pros and cons, of course.

Today’s article will not only cover the role of face detection in the digital world but also take you on a quick privacy walkabout. Let’s begin.

What is digital facial recognition?

Digital facial recognition is a popular way of verifying a person’s identity using their facial features. One of the top forms of biometric security, facial recognition, is increasingly being used for identifying individuals in real time or through live videos and images.

Top global organizations are integrating digital signage with facial recognition features to deliver a more personalized experience. Facial scans with advanced technology unveils important demographic data such as age bracket, gender, interests, and other information that help companies construct buyer personas and improve customer engagement.

It depends on the country and the latest regulations. While there are no explicit laws in India banning the use of this technology, the recent regulations issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs imposes control on how law enforcement bodies may use Automated Facial Recognition Systems (AFRS).

While most of the states in the USA have no legal restrictions, Vermont, Washington, and a few others have imposed limits due to the lack of transparency and privacy concerns.

A number of companies like Macy’s are notifying customers of the in-store facial scans and helping them stay informed.

Macy's installed biometric identifier in-store facial scans.

Top six industries benefiting from facial recognition in digital signage

Digital signage powered face recognition technology is a reservoir of opportunities for every industry. In this section, we will explore how different sectors are optimizing the application of digital signage by incorporating facial detection capabilities.


The swift-changing consumer requirements have opened up new horizons in healthcare. Here are a few:

  • Patient registrations

Facial recognition technology in hospitals and other healthcare facilities makes patient check-ins and check-outs seamless. It also helps reduce chances of authentication fraud and patient misidentification.

  • Diagnosis and monitoring

Top healthcare companies are harnessing the power of facial recognition and emotion detection AI to garner better insights on patients. For instance, AEI (Artificial Emotional Intelligence) can help detect pain and other signs and symptoms to make a preliminary assessment of a patient’s conditions and facilitate early diagnosis.

  • Authentication & access control

Digital signage installed outside of restricted zones in hospitals should have facial detection features not only for identifying individuals but also for authenticating staff and providing selective or privileged access to people.


Use of facial recognition technology in grocery stores for payments.

Facial recognition in retail is a brilliant addition for:

  • Analyzing customers demographics

  • Displaying targeted advertisements

  • Augmenting the shopping experience

Face and emotion detection technology is shaping the future of retail analytics in different ways, the most innovative ones being:

  • 1. Measuring footfall

Integrating facial recognition into your existing sensor and clicker tool units helps automate the measurement of foot traffic and compare the data for different hours of the day. This lets you determine the impact of existing business strategies and how you can adjust store locations, operating hours, and positioning of your digital displays to improve customer experience.

2.Demographics & peak hours

The constant monitoring feature of facial recognition tools lets you identify the peak traffic hours so you can reallocate the distribution of staff and readjust inventories.

Dissecting insights collected from face recognition tools and analytics can help retailers plan upcoming sales and offers with precision.

3.Behavior & emotions

Your run-of-the-mill customer behavior analysis tools may fail to capture how consumers feel about certain products, what they avoid buying or buy more, and why. Facial recognition and emotion detection software can decipher and assess emotions (sad, dissatisfied, delighted, neutral, surprised).

This assessment lets you revisit and readjust pricing, offers, customer service, and more.

Education sector

Educational institutes are introducing facial recognition solutions for security purposes, attendance tracking, adaptive learning, and more.  Use of facial recognition technology with digital signage in schools.

Here are some of the top application areas:

  • Automated attendance tracking

By identifying and marking students as they enter the classroom, schools and colleges can easily eliminate the need for manual attendance. Digital signage installed right outside the classrooms can make this experience seamless.

  • Library management

Universities can track the borrowing and returning of books with modern facial recognition software integrated with digital displays in libraries. This also helps enhance security and streamline access.

  • Exam proctoring

Face detection and recognition can be implemented to verify the identities of students and prevent cases of impersonation or malpractices during examinations.

  • Adaptive learning

Universities having programs for specially abled students often introduce adaptive learning platforms. Digital signage deployed during classroom sessions can capture the expressions of the learners, understand their experience, and tweak the difficulty levels of the lessons accordingly.

Other sectors benefiting from facial recognition in digital signage

1. Transportation

Face recognition in transportation has tremendous potential to improve passenger experience in the following ways:

  • Passenger verification at primary checkpoints

  • Automated check-ins at bus terminals, airports, and train stations

  • Monitoring driver behavior and ensuring alertness during commutes

  • Preventing fraud and unauthorized access to transport services by verifying legitimate ticket holders

  • Security screening to detect and investigate individuals with suspicious behavior

2. Finance

The finance sector has lately become a hotspot for data breaches and privacy concerns that can be addressed with facial recognition technology in the following ways:

  • Securing mobile banking and payments by authorizing users to perform transactions by simply scanning their faces with smartphones

  • Safeguarding ATM access by adding an additional layer of security wherein users are allowed to withdraw cash only after undergoing a face scan

  • Enforcing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance by monitoring transactions for suspicious activities

  • Assessing eligibility of loan applicants

3. Marketing and events

Digital signage has become pivotal to the success of marketing, events, and promotional activities, and here is how businesses can up their games with facial recognition capabilities:

  • Crowd monitoring

Facial recognition helps monitor crowd density and flow at big events. This allows for better management of consumer traffic and ensures a seamless overall experience. Digital displays installed at event venues can help identify individual customers and help companies offer personalized services and recommendations.

  • Audience analytics

Face detection features let event organizers and marketers analyze the demographics and engagement of the audience, enabling targeted offerings and delivery of content.

Companies hitting the mark with facial recognition: Examples from around the globe

Facial recognition combined with artificial emotional intelligence is making the world a better place for brands and their consumers. A stellar example was set by Yoplait, the world’s largest franchise brand of yogurt.

Yoplait & JCDecaux Australia campaign

In partnership with JCDecaux Australia, Yoplait had launched a DOOH (Digital Out of Home) campaign to promote its newly launched yogurt smoothies. The company had installed an outdoor display that used an attract loop asking guests to come and get a free smoothie.

The guests had to stand on a circle near to the display while it asked them to:

“Smile or frown for a free smoothie.”

When a person smiled, the display said they looked happy and dispensed a coupon saying “keep smiling”. When a customer made an angry face or frowned, the display said they looked “hangry” (hungry and angry) and offered a coupon to fix their mood.

People could then take those coupons to the nearest stores and get their free smoothies.

Care taking robots

Japan has emerged as a pioneer in this sector. More than 25% of Japan’s population is 65 years or older. The Japanese government is allocating one-third of the budget for the development of caregiving robots .

Toyota recently built humanoid robots for taking care of the elderly and assisting them with day-to-day activities like turning off lights or getting them food. The Toyota Human Support (HSR) robots have been a great innovation in healthcare for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Most of these robots improve interactions with patients by understanding their moods. For example, robots taking care of elderly patients can remind them of medicines or talk about their favorite topics when the patients seem depressed.

Gearing up for the future with Pickcel

Augmentation and automation with facial recognition is changing the way your customers see the world. And there lies your opportunity to be a brand that innovates while taking care of customer privacy and business transparency.

Pickcel helps companies ace the pace with innovations in digital signage. Reach out to our experts to stand out in the futuristic market.

Schedule a demo today.

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Esha Panda

Esha is an engineer-turned-marketer managing the development, delivery, and promotion of brand- and product-centric content. She has bagged the prestigious accolade -Most Influential Content Marketing Professional - Top 50 two years in a row. When she is not writing, editing, or ideating, Esha loves to trek, paint, and watch movies

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