Tag Archives: Emerging technologies

Next Generation Facial Recognition Software Knows How You Feel

By: Anthony Germinario

Affectiva, a pioneer in emotional recognition software, seems
to be everywhere lately ‘ from discussions in my office about new MR
techniques, to a recent article in Wired.
I first heard of their Affdex technology at an ASC conference in London, and was thoroughly
impressed by the ability to capture emotions while respondents view videos
or ads. Facial recognition has been around for a while now (remember when
Facebook started guessing who was in your photos?) but decoding emotions on
those faces is a whole new frontier.

Affdex was developed with altruistic intentions at
the MIT Media Lab; to help autistic people read emotions during daily
interactions. A machine that reads emotions, however, inevitably
caught the attention of many more interested parties. While I can get
excited about using their technology to measure respondent reactions in Market
Research studies, I am even more interested to see where else this will be applied
in my everyday life as a consumer. Which of my devices will read
my emotions, and what will they give me in return?
Affectiva recently offered a 45-day free trial to developers who want to experiment with their API ‘ which got me thinking… what
are some apps or devices I would want to read my face/emotions? I’m not a
developer (just a dreamer) so here is my short list:
Apple TV
/ Roku
‘ Could the device please pause my show when I inevitably doze off while catching up with my shows on Sunday evening?

sites (Amazon, Gilt, etc.)
‘ While I shop, can you tell which items I react
positively to, and tailor my experience like a virtual personal shopper?

‘ maybe Tinder can tell exactly how you feel about a potential match,
so you don’t have to keep swiping left/right? Perhaps you would find different
matches based on your initial emotional response, which you may not even be aware of.
All dreaming aside, one real concern about any new kind of
data capture, especially involving video, is privacy. Consumers are willing to
trade a good amount of personal privacy for novelty and convenience, but it
certainly is something that must be addressed. Rana el Kaliouby (Chief Science Officer at Affectiva)
assures us that Affdex, while it has amassed a database of millions of faces,
retains no personally identifiable information. So even if we know my face is
in there, she asserts that nobody would be able to pull it out of the system.

I, for one, will take her word for it ‘ and am excited to
see this approach applied in consumer technology. What about the rest of you ‘ any other
ideas for places you do (or maybe don’t!) want to have your face/emotions read?

About the Author: Anthony Germinario is Director
of Technical Product Management at BuzzBack,
where he is focused on developing and integrating unique respondent and
reporting experiences for online research. He has earned his PMP certification
and holds a B.S.B.A from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. You
can keep up with him on Twitter @AGermBB and
on LinkedIn,
as well as on BuzzBack’s blog.

Related articles

Exclusive Interview: How Technology is ‘Perfecting’ Market Research

From the collection of data to the curation of insights,
technology is disrupting market research at
every turn. And, it’s new technologies that are driving this significant
change. Traditional research just isn’t enough anymore. Brand new ways of working
including are requiring that look at research through a different lens. They
are enabling us to gather insights in new and exciting ways, but also
inundating us with myriad sources of data about users that needs to be
Fortunately, this year the producers of The Market
Research Event present InsighTech:
Innovations in Research Methodology & Technology
– an event that covers
innovative new ways to deploy mainstream methodologies and presents emerging
technology likely to disrupt the industry even further. We recently sat down
with our InsighTech keynote speaker Keith Ferrazzi, CEO, Ferrazzi Greenlight to
discuss how technology is disrupting market research.

Here’s what Keith had to say:
IIR: How is
technology disrupting and transforming market research?
Ferrazzi: Technology
isn’t disrupting market research, it is perfecting it! What once was
survey-based and qualified by outcomes can now be measured in real time. With
the advent of digital platforms, we are learning how people behave in
an unprecedented manner. This means we now can figure out what images or
content actually is working because of click-through and time spent on site, as
well as which function of a company’s intranet is providing the most value-based
on engagement rates. With this data we can easily tweak one variable at a time
and see what the results are. 
We are only just beginning to see
the possibility of technology and understanding how people interact
with the market, but with the inclusion of big data and digital behavior
mining, be prepared to see not only marketing but products more finely tuned to
our needs and desires.
IIR: How is
Ferrazzi Greenlight specifically disrupting market research?
Ferrazzi: One
thing we do is we use technology to identify top performers in companies so
that we can extract valuable information from them as a way to accrue
and curate best practices to train to the larger employee base. We’re
crowd-sourcing training to allow each organization we work with devise their
own best practices and train to them instead of walking in saying, “Here’s
what’s going to work for
you.” We may use technology to identity them,
but old-fashioned interviews are still the best way
to get at how your employees behaviors influence their day-to-day
activities. Sometimes you need both old school and new school techniques to be
IIR: How do you
sort through the current technology trends to uncover what will eventually
change how you do business?
Ferrazzi: I’m
lucky in that I have an in-house team developing technologies to help
in the corporate space, so I rely on them and their expertise to keep me
informed on new products and opportunities. I will never be able
to know everything about every line of corporate acceleration/market
research, but if I empower the right people and make it a priority that they
come to me with anything they uncover in their daily lives, I can be exposed to
enough to determine good trends and where I should research further for
IIR: In the
digital age, what is the new consumer angle at Ferrazzi Greenlight?
Ferrazzi: Same as
it’s always been, improved experience. What this means now, though, is
that we have an ability to hear the consumer through the entire buying cycle.
From social media chatter and sentiment analysis to analytics on their website
experience, we are able to see how the consumer interacts with a given
IIR: How do you
harness the power of social, attitudinal, and behavioral data for deeper
consumer insights?
Ferrazzi: This
data is gold to any new CEO, sales lead, etc. At the end of the day, you need
this data to take your product from being guess work to targeted services
tailored to the needs of your consumers. But data will only take you so
far. This will always be iterative and a learning process. Just because
you see a demand for something doesn’t mean you will immediately discover the
execution that is desired. You need to find and trust your creativity to
express the solution to the data.
IIR: How is
gamification affecting market research?
Ferrazzi: Gamification
is a hot topic right now. The goal of gamification is to increase engagement
with a given product, app, or service. What that really is are incentives.
There are some very fascinating discoveries being made about the
value and implementation of incentives. You need to choose a rewards
model that works best for your given situation and it needs to be
unique. So if gamification, leaderboards, badges, etc. work to help your sales
team succeed, excellent! But perhaps the reward needs to be more emotional
in nature, the more they sell, the more gets donated to the charity of their
choice. Both of these “games” could help drive your business
outcomes, but it’s up to you to determine which works best.
IIR: How is
wearable technology affecting market research?
Ferrazzi: Wearable
technology is going to be a huge new market research opportunity, but I have
found that the vast majority of the data that these toys (Nike fuelbands,
 Jawbone Up, the FitBit) are only gathering very basic information limited
to the accelerometers weakness of only tracking certain kinds of activity.
You only get a small amount of data. In time though, that
data married to other data from other smart devices in your life will allow
market research to become unimaginably personalized. Just as a Nest home system
learns your patterns and behaviors to know when to
turn up or down the heat or turn on or off lights to suite your
needs, so too will marketers learn patterns in their audience and better
understand what drives or motivates it.
IIR: Where do you
see market research technology going in five years?
Ferrazzi: Five
years is a huge window to discuss. What I think is the biggest debate that will
shape the next five years is the nature of what data we deem should be
available to marketers from our interactions with technology. Some argue that
all of this should be protected and private. Other argue that if you
are using their platform, say a free Instagram account, you trade your personal
data for use of a fun photo sharing experience with friends. Depending upon
how public sentiment swings, what we learn from people and technology is
entirely too big and varied to conceive.
IIR: What is the
best innovation in market research that you have seen?
Ferrazzi: It
isn’t a single program, or application, but rather a creative mind that can
look at the data coming from a variety of sources and find the through line.
Data by itself is wonderful, but the amount of data we are beginning to receive
is overwhelming. It takes a clever human (not technology) to
sort through the sea of data to discover the truth behind it. We are not
beyond the point where human ingenuity and understanding should be
undervalued. Artificial intelligence will always need human intelligence
to guide it. So if you want the best market research, find yourself a
curious mind and give that person the tools to go explore. 
IIR: How does the
Internet of Things drive more meaningful consumer connections?
Ferrazzi: It’s
still a relatively new concept, but with all the “smart” options of everything
from TVs to refrigerators to even vacuum cleaners being introduced on a regular
basis, we’re no longer being dictated to by manufacturers. There’s a more fluid
relationship between consumer and producer.  This level of interaction
creates an almost dialogue and helps fine tune products to a changing base.
Want to hear more
from Ferrazzi? Don’t miss his keynote
entitled, ‘Research Drives the Intersection of Human
Relationships and Software in Groundbreaking New Platforms’ taking place on
Tuesday, May 5th at 9:30 am in San Francisco, CA.

About the Author:
Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and
print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing,
and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs
including Next Big DesignCustomers 1stDigital Impact, STEAM Accelerator and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business
, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,.
She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where
she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She
can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.

A Cool Research Methodology That I Predict You Will Use

Written by: Roxana Strohmenger, Forrester Research

As my colleagues in our team can attest, I get giddy when I talk about all the cool, emerging, and innovative methods that market research professionals can use ‘ whether it be how biometric techniques helped the Campbell Soup Company understand how consumers respond to marketing and advertising in order to redesign its soup-can logo, or when Nokia used mobile research methods as a way to understand what emotional constructs influence a consumer’s ‘love and admiration’ for a brand. All in all, it is great to see technology starting to make a significant impact on how we collect richer insights about consumers.

To help market research professionals understand what innovative research techniques are out there, I am launching a report series this year that will cover some of these innovative methods. To kick off the series, I have focused on prediction markets. Why? Because I see this extremely underutilized method as a valuable tool in the long, expensive, and arduous process of product and concept testing.

Companies are faced with the following daunting facts:

  • - Over 25,000 new consumer products skus are introduced annually in North America with only half of these new product launches considered successful at launch.
  • - For every seven product ideas that are created, typically only one succeeds in the market.
  • - An estimated 46% of all resources allocated to product development and commercialization is spent on products that are cancelled or that fail to yield an adequate financial return.

Despite all the time and money spent discovering and flushing out new product ideas, there really is no way, using methods like monadic testing, to predict whether the product is going to succeed in the marketplace. But, what if there is a way to predict the future and determine which ideas or products will succeed or fail? I posit that using a prediction market methodology can accomplish this task.

A prediction market is a speculative market that harnesses the power of the ‘wisdom of the crowds’ for the purpose of making predictions. This concept was addressed in James Surowiecki’s 2004 book entitled The Wisdom of Crowds, where he presented numerous case examples of how a diverse group of independently thinking individuals is able to make decisions and predictions better than individuals in isolation or even than experts. The beauty of this method is that it is not relying on asking individuals to make predictions about what they will do in the future but rather what they think other people will do. Research has shown that we are unreliable witnesses to our own motivations. However, as social animals, we are actually very good at noticing what other people are doing, sensing why they might be doing it, and predicting what they will do. Therefore, a crowd can successfully predict the future and ‘ for a market research professional’s purposes ‘ can predict which products will do well and which will fail in the marketplace.

Prediction markets have typically been used during the discovery stage, when market researchers are ascertaining which ideas should continue on for extensive research and development. Rather than spending significant amounts of time and money on a target population using monadic testing for each idea put forward, researchers instead use prediction markets to quickly and inexpensively determine which idea is predicted to be the winning concept and then run that concept through the product development life cycle. When comparing against findings from monadic testing, companies that have used prediction markets have repeatedly found that the results are exactly the same in terms of what is deemed the winning concept. And instead of taking several weeks and paying significant amounts of money for these studies, they have reduced the research process down to several days and reduced their costs by the order of 50%. This is definitely a methodology that should become a staple of any market research professional’s tool kit.

Stay tuned for my report, which will focus on the appropriate time to use prediction markets, how to incorporate them into your traditional research mix, and which vendors can help. And, please drop me a line’ or in the comments, of course ‘ if you’d like to give me your take on using prediction markets or any other type of innovative research method.

Also, if you are like me and want to hear more about using innovative research methods, take a look at this conference: Technology Driven Market Research Event. The theme for the conference is ‘Capture insights in real time; Measure meaningful chatter; and Showcase breakthrough methodologies.’ As a guest blogger for this event, I look forward to hearing great case examples on exactly how companies have used these ground-breaking tools and technologies and, most importantly, how they have incorporated these new techniques with their traditional research methods. Be on the lookout on my blog and Twitter account where I will be providing a summary and my perspective on the key takeaways from some of the presentations.

This blog is co-posted with Forrester’s For Market Researcher Professionals Blog.