Eye tracking’s future role in data analytics
The fastest growing market for eye tracking is in market research and usability. The value of knowing not only where customers are looking but how they are looking is becoming more widely recognized. There is a vast amount of data that can potentially be collected about online user behavior using eye tracking. For example, did the customer see the banner ad? Did they exhibit an involuntary emotional reaction, such as pupil dilation? Did they click on the banner after reacting emotionally or ignore it? The list goes on.
Eye tracking is not quite ready for mass-market adoption yet. Right now, only those who can afford to use eye tracking are getting to take advantage of the priceless insight it provides. In addition, the computing requirements are too complex for the average chips in modern consumer devices. In the not so distant future, however, eye tracking will be more widely available and mainstream as technologies advance and prices decrease. Before we know it, eye tracking capabilities will be integrated as a standard feature on any device with a front facing camera, and looking at mobile technology trends, this seems to be the path we are headed. In fact, Apple has filed for a 3D eye tracking user interface and a European eye tracking company plans to build its technology into smartphones as early as next year.
Eye tracking will one day be deployed in anything from laptops and smartphones to ATMs and drive-through menus. As amazing as this sounds, it’s frightening at the same time. In the future, as cameras become ubiquitous in computers and mobile phones, marketers could potentially gather data about your visual behavior without you even knowing. Then, this data could be collected, analyzed and sold to the highest bidder. The implications of this are two sided. On one hand, it would improve interface usability and ad targeting, making it easier to find products you are actually interested in, but on the other hand, it would add to the increasing number of digital privacy concerns.
What are your thoughts on widespread integration of eye tracking technology used for collecting user behavior data from consumer electronics?
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