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Affective computing and its applications in the apparel retail industry

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic", said Arthur C. Clarke, author of many science fictions. Technology has an important role to play in transforming businesses in a big way. With the growing usage of smartphones and tablets, apparel retailers want to use technology to their advantage to stay ahead in the times of fierce competition.

apparel retailers and in the fashion industry understanding consumer behaviour is a direct route to achieving higher revenues and better sales. Data analytics and sensors are a few methods used in the sector for making better decisions. Lately advances in the field of neuroscience can reveal a great deal about emotions that are at the very crux of human decision making. Essentially emotions trigger the way individuals engage with brands and products rather than cognitive thoughts.
Conventionally used techniques like surveys and focus groups do not measure emotional responses accurately and are prone to biases. They fail to capture honest, unfiltered, and spontaneous feelings. It would be so much simpler if just by reading the facial expressions, gestures, voices, heart rates, and sweat to identify the emotions of an individual. Enter affective computing, a technology that does just that through personal devices like laptops, phones, and tablets.
Affective computing can be defined as the study and development of systems and gadgets which recognize, process, integrate, and stimulate human affects. It is an amalgamation of three different disciplines namely psychology, cognitive science, and computer science. The affective computing technology aims at interpreting the emotional state of human beings and according to which it adapts its behaviour by providing an appropriate response.