But not for much longer as VIP-recognition software is being trialled in a dozen top stores and hotels, here in the UK , in America, and in the Far East.
The system has been developed by NEC IT Solutions in Cambridge, UK. They have already produced facial recognition software to help spot terrorists and criminals. (Most facial recognition systems work by measuring fixed aspects of the face such as the distance between the eyes).
The VIP system works by photographing people as they enter the premises and then matching them against a customer database. Once the person has been identified alerts are sent to staff via computer, iPad or smartphone.
Information could be provided about the customer in addition to name and address; it could include spending patterns or clothes sizes (a bit like an upmarket Tesco card but in real time).
It’s an interesting idea which relies on customers’ cooperation to use their data but could help to provide a more personalised service (similar to the way Amazon makes suggestions based on your previous spending and search patterns).