Vending machines that recognize you
Some machines in Japan have cameras and sensors that analyze your image to offer more-personalized service.
Imagine walking up to a soft-drink machine and having your appearance analyzed. A young woman, for example, could then see advertising for Diet Coke or bottled water.
A man walking up a minute later would have a totally different experience.
That kind of technology is being used in Japan, where vending machines at train stations and other locations tweak their wares to fit a person's gender and age, The Wall Street Journal reports. "The idea is to transform billboards and the like into sophisticated marketing tools that identify and target a specific audience."
The displays, made by NEC Corp. (NIPNF), use facial-recognition technology to learn more about the people using vending machines. NEC says the systems are 90% accurate in determining someone's gender and 70% accurate in guessing within 10 years of a person's age, the Journal reported. Post continues after video:
I'm surprised more systems like this aren't in place. Delivering specialized advertising to shoppers at the mall, for example, would seem extremely valuable to companies. Imagine looking at a mall directory and a nearby screen starts advertising sales at stores you were actually interested in.
Mobile applications have long been considered the next frontier in targeted advertising. Smart Spending reports that one app, called Shopkick, gives iPhone users rewards when they stop in certain stores, and can offer even more rewards for trying on clothes.
More from MSN Money:
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
The push is on for undervalued, cash-rich technology companies to return more money to investors. And there's still room for dividend growth.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.