The Ingenuity Sun Media (ISM) video boards that have been set up at most NASCAR tracks throughout 2017 have given fans something to watch when there’s no racing taking place. But fans might not realize that the boards also have been watching them back.
International Speedway Corp., which owns 13 tracks and signed a multi-year partnership deal with ISM ahead of 2017, recently revealed that the boards use internal cameras to gather data about attendees, according to ESPN.
“Through the deployment of video screens around the property, it’s an opportunity to enhance the guest experience with content, but also it drives real-time analytics for us, through facial recognition and identifying demographics,” International Speedway Corp. (ISC) president, John Saunders, said.
Facial recognition, however, isn’t an accurate description.
ISM president Jeff Hutchins reportedly clarified that, in fact, the cameras don’t record fans. Instead, they essentially act as a set of eyes for a facial analytics software, which aims to deduce basic information by looking at people, rather than actually indentifying them.
“At no point are we capturing images, capturing video or transmitting that video anywhere in the system or outside of the system,” Hutchins said. “The facial analytics are basically doing mapping on predicted points to try and determine one of four age categories, gender. Beyond that we’re pulling … how long people are within range of the (video board).”
In addition to providing both NASCAR and advertisers with more detailed breakdowns of who is attending races, the data collection could help tracks improve the on-site experience.
By monitoring how many people are within range at any given time, for example, the boards identify which parts of the facilities are the most heavily trafficked throughout the day. With that information, ISC then can determine whether those places need more opportunities for consumer engagement.
Thumbnail photo via Randy Sartin/USA TODAY Sports Images
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