EmSense – Common Sense or Nonsense?

EmSense – Common Sense or Nonsense?


This is a headset which is being developed by EmSense, a Monterey, California based company that is pioneering physiological neuro-scientific sensing for business decision making. Their patent-pending device has embedded sensors that combine EEG technology used to measure brain-wave activity and other biometrics like eye motion, breathing, cardio activity, body temperature in an individual viewer. Another company, Sands Research, also is helping firms conduct market research by measuring physiological data.

Sands Research

Taking all that data, the system then processes with proprietary algorithms to determine how a viewer reacts on cognitive and emotional levels to various stimuli. Advertising, of course, is a perfect media for study. The Coca-Cola Company used EmSense to select which of its ads to use in Superbowl XLII.

This technology, if it is accurate, is extremely useful and has a place in the net-centric marketing world; the business intelligence and data mining potenitial is mind boggling. Marketing will never be the same if this can take off.

The Marketing Consigliere has two “big picture” questions –

This technology clearly makes sense on the B2C side, but does it make sense as an application for measuring B2B purchasing behavior? Can a complex buying center be analyzed by testing a pool of subjects categorized by, say, the Miller & Heiman [amazon ASIN=”0446386278″]Strategic Selling[/amazon] model? On the surface, yes, but I would think that with more “moving parts,” there will still be a long way to go between selecting popular commercials versus increasing the probability of a B2B sale.

My second question is admittedly more far-fetched and problemmatic – will such a “mind-reading” contraption someday become part of the the net-centric marketing world? Time will obviously enable companies to produce devices with more powerful sensing that can be operated remotely – that is, not directly touching an individual’s body.

Should such a device be integrated with other monitoring devices that are not worn but rather are pointed at people (like a video camera or radar gun) without consent to determine buying signs and preferences or even to somehow influence sales, say at a retail location? Of course, the data gathered from such a system would be networked for more business intelligence and data mining. This sounds feasible to me – not today, but in our lifetime, and while I generally champion C4ISR marketing (see what I blogged about using night vision goggles to protect intellectual property in “The Fog of Piracy War“) perhaps this is the limit to which I do not exceed.

What do you think (would you mind putting on an EmSense device on your head and “telling” us)?

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