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Growth & Jobs | Jamaican discovers 'new gold' - Innovation can analyse body movements, emotions and tell what clients will buy

Published:Friday | August 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Larren Peart
Larren Peart demonstrates to a volunteer how a programme works.

Declaring that 'data is the nexus for everything these days' and is the 'new gold', the conceptualiser of Blue Dot Data Intelligence Limited has used a fascinating mix of advanced technology and innovation to collect information. He has been doing so through the monitoring of body actions and emotions - an initiative which has attracted some of Jamaica's largest companies.

Larren Peart, founder and chief executive officer of the market research and data analysis company, told The Gleaner that various new technologies and methodologies have been added to traditional research to pull more insight out of the data by monitoring people's conscious and subconscious emotions, eye movements, facial coding, among other expressive body language.

"Currently, we have invested heavily in one particular area called consumer neuroscience which, essentially, is figuring out what the 'buy' button in the consumers brains are," he explained.

"From this, we are able to see what emotions are being evoked while they are purchasing a product. We are able to determine where people are looking, what they are looking at, how long they are looking at a particular area on a flyer or on any form of visual stimuli; or in a television commercial, movie ... in a store," he explained.


Facial coding


He added, "Then there is facial coding, which monitors all the muscles in your face. Every time you twitch, every time you move, your eyebrow moves. We code that, and we can tell what emotion is being evoked while you are experiencing whatever it is we are showing you. We also look at the physiological input such as heart rate, pulse, and brain activity. So we will assess while we are testing. Did your heart rate increase? Did you remain focussed when you were watching a particular advertisement?"

The founder of the three-year-old company thinks this kind of research can become a thriving sector for the country, indicating that repeated business and client satisfaction are signals of the value that innovative research and data have in economic development.

"The application of this technology has been very useful and insightful for the clients because they are making multimillion-dollar decisions based on research that isn't necessarily flawed. Technology can now unearth more accurate and deeper insight, and that is what we bring to the table," he said.

The clients, he said, include the National Commercial Bank.

... Eyeing health insurance and hospital data

For Zachary Harding, a director of the Blue Dot Data Intelligence Limited, his vision is to see persons employ innovative strategies to marketing.

"Companies spend a lot of money doing marketing, but they spend a lot of money and they are still guessing in many cases. They are still trying to figure out what the consumers want, what the consumers like. They do some ads, they do some promotions, they do some traditional research. What we have, though, allows the clients to get deeper insights that can drive the decision-makers," he said.

Larren Peart indicated that another area which he is looking to focus is health insurance data, in addition to hospital data, which will spot trends in treatments that actually work.