Australian home builder MJH Group is trialing facial recognition in two Sydney display homes to better understand whether the public likes the properties.

The company is using 4K cameras and cloud-based facial recognition technology to determine whether visitors are “happy or excited” when entering and leaving MOJO and McDonald Jones display homes in Kellyville. It’s also using the system to track the age and gender of visitors, and 3D stereo vision sensors to count visitors.

Visitors are told that facial recognition is being used at the homes. The data is anonymised and aggregated, according to an article about the project published by MJH Group’s technology partner Microsoft.

MJH Group states it will use the data to better understand the effectiveness of its marketing campaigns and popularity of its home designs.

While its salespeople count how many people visit display homes, they don’t track visitor demographics. And while salespeople can count how many brochures visitors take from display homes, those numbers aren’t always a good indicator of visitor numbers. There’s also potential for bias if salespeople have an interest in visitor conversation rates, claims Microsoft’s article.

Now, technology is automating that process. Data from the cameras and sensors is sent to the Microsoft Azure cloud via the Microsoft Face API for processing. By correlating it with information about weather, MJH Group can also take into account the affect bad weather can have on visitor numbers. It can also see which times of day are busiest.

“It indicates trends that we never would have been able to visualise before,” said Brett Wilson, MJH Group Chief Information Officer. “In one business there are peak times – one o’clock in the afternoon and three o’clock in the afternoon, whereas at the other business, the peak times are slightly different. They were at 12 and two.

It gives our business a lot more demographic detail than we had before, which was just a number that said 20 customers came into the display home and we don’t know how many were really interested – maybe they left without leaving their contact details because the sales team were busy with another customer."