Two thirds of UK consumers are comfortable with the idea of facial recognition technology (FRT), but are less certain what it should be used for. In a recent national survey, Toluna found that although 69.2% of respondents have never knowingly used facial recognition, an almost equal percentage (65.8%) were "comfortable with the idea".

Interestingly however, almost as many consumers were happy for FRT to be used to offer relevant products and services (51.9%), as there were consumers who trust it for security purposes (55.9%). When asked if they were happy for facial recognition to be used to offer personalised marketing messages, this percentage drops to 34.8%, perhaps suggesting that an invasive use of FRT is offputting - rather than the notion of marketing itself.

Paul Twite, UK MD of Toluna, said of the results: “Understandably, respondents felt more comfortable with the technology being used for security and monitoring rather than for marketing or advertising purposes. Do brands really deserve to know who exactly is viewing their adverts?"

At the same, he argued, time will tell as to how far consumers will embrace the technology, waters that OOH media companies have already begun to test: "Much of the innovation in facial recognition technology will occur in the consumer sector over the coming years. It remains to be seen how accepting consumers will be of the technology as it becomes more pervasive and invasive. However, brands can begin to test this via concept testing tools to gauge consumer sentiment ahead of launching this technology within their company.”