Where everybody knows your [name, face, license plate]

I just read this interesting article about technology that anticipates fast-food customers' orders. The system takes information like sandwich promotions, vehicle types in line, historical trends, etc. and predicts what food should be prepared when. The goal is to find that sweet spot between wasting food and keeping customers waiting.

For some reason this morning, my brain decided to take that concept and run with it.

Suppose this scenario was extended further. Let's say that the drive-through had a camera that captured your license plate number as you came through. They could recognize your tag number and connect it with your order. Then, then next time you visited another Golden Arches, you could be given the option to order "the usual" or something else. This could be further expanded with face recognition that knows you when you step up to the counter to order, and can recall your favorite McMeals.

I guess I'll finish up this tangent by bringing it around to MSDN Events. Right now, when you show up to the event, you have to bring a bar code. What if we could recognize your faces instead and check you in by that? That might speed up check-in...

So what would you think of these "enabling" technologies? Let me know in a comment!

Comments (7)

  1. Pat Piccolo says:

    Of course, under some obscure language of the HIPAA act, your McMeal eating activities would be shared with your primary healthcare provider, and with your health/life insurance company, who would use the information as the basis for denying coverage (soon you’ll see a line in your insurance policy that says: self inflicted damage to your health is not covered under your policy… right there next to ‘acts of God’, and ‘terrorism’ exclusions). There are existing ‘enablers’ that are already being eyed for the storehouse of personal preference information they contain. I actually think there’ll be a day when my Kroger shopping card information will be quite valuable to my insurance company….. so you eat four buckets of Ben&Jerry’s Phish Food icecream a week, eh…

  2. At McDonalds I would like the camera to also take into account, lip reading and my facial expression based on what item I was reading off the menu.

    Also microphones which recorded the conversation with their partner when the window was rolled down would be a great idea.

  3. How about they just get the flippin order correct for once 🙂

    Oh yeah, and if it is not too much to ask, please include a straw, some napkins, and the catsup that I asked for in the bag sometime before the fries revert to their once former life as a potato like lump of lard.

  4. Sahil Malik says:

    So when I go to CVS pharmacy to buy a coca cola, the system will instead prompt me to buy condoms? Weird !!

  5. Jerry Pisk says:

    How about a generic compiler that decides what you actually meant by your source based not on the language rules but rather on its past experience with you?

  6. This would be just plain scary that Mcdonalds would have better technology to identify customers then the department of homeland security would have to identify terrorists! 😉 Or maybe we could catch terrorists when they go through the mcdonald’s drive through?

  7. Amy Styers says:

    egads! Imagine the embarrassment of this technology gone amuck…. I can only imagine what would happen if McDonalds automatically recognized that I was a super-size sort of customer and already preemptively had the order prepared for me that way. I should mention that in such a case, I should not be held responsible for any sort of destructive behavior that might follow.

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