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AI-Driven Video Analytics for the Retail Industry

Illustration: © IoT For All

Artificial intelligence (AI) is directly correlated with Data Science, which is aimed at extracting business value from an array of information. This value can consist of expanding the capabilities of forecasting, knowledge of regularities, informed decision-making, cost reduction, etc. In other words, artificial intelligence operates with massive arrays of information, analyzes incoming data, and develops adaptive solutions based on them. 

In the modern world, the retail industry is rapidly increasing the application of artificial intelligence in all possible work processes. Thus, leveraging opportunities by applying analytics can undoubtedly improve a wide range of operations in the grocery industry. With AI, the largest supermarket chains are achieving very ambitious aims: 

  • improving and expanding customer service capabilities,
  • automating supply chain planning and orders delivery,
  • reducing product waste,
  • sharpening the management of out-of-stock and over-stock (grocery stock out), and
  • enhancing demand forecasting. 

The AI solution ecosystem is extensive and able to satisfy most needs of all grocery retailers (from large chains to the smallest businesses). As of now – during the quarantine, online grocery analytics has become a real “savior” in terms of managing stock-out conditions. With intelligent data-driven approaches, supermarkets can process a large amount of information, accurately forecast consumer demand and supply inventory, and generate the most accurate pricing and purchasing recommendations. As a result, grocery retailers will not only stay afloat, but will continue to generate profits even throughout the most critical situations, like during the coronavirus pandemic. With that being said, it is evident that all companies now require an immediate action plan in response to COVID-19. 

A New Level of Video Surveillance

As a rule, most grocery stores have a continuous video surveillance system. Previously, such systems were installed only for security purposes: controlling the safety of products and preventing theft. But now, artificial intelligence video analysis is able to monitor the behavior of customers from the moment they enter the store until payment. How does it work, and why do stores need it?

Large grocery chains like Amazon and Walmart use high-tech cameras that utilize automatic object identification (RFID). Typically, such a system is used in unmanned electric vehicles to monitor passenger behavior and process visual information via a computer. But the primary goal of video grocery store analytics is to determine which items are in high demand, which products buyers most often return to the shelves, etc. Moreover, cameras recognize faces, determine heights, weights, ages, and other physical characteristics of customers. Subsequently, the AI (based on all the obtained data) identifies the most popular products from specific consumer groups and offers options for changing the pricing policy. A computer automates all these processes without human intervention. 

Preventing Grocery Stock-out and Shrinkage

Artificial intelligence in the retail industry is capable of solving problems that people cannot cope with. Experts state that a person physically cannot view all the video surveillance. There is not enough time for this, and unfortunately, human vision is not perfect. But this is no longer necessary! Video analytics for grocery stores perfectly copes with such tasks. For example, connecting cameras to the store’s automated warehouse system and equipping shelves with sensors can uncover gaps in inventory records and stimulate investigations. Grocery store data analytics can also monitor stocks and provide signals about replenishment needs. Facial recognition technology as described above is capable of comparing the faces of people with criminals (or wanted individuals) and warn security.

Advancing Traffic Flows and Store Layout

Data collected about customer behavior helps supermarket managers optimize store layout. Moreover, the computer program can design the most “optimal” layout and test it, generating an overall better customer experience and an increase in the store’s monthly profit figure. 

Data can be collected about the number of people that enter a store and the amount of time they spend shopping. Based on this data, artificial intelligence can predict crowd sizes and the length of time people wait in line. It will help improve customer service and reduce staff costs during “calm” hours. In other words, AI is able to draw optimal store management plans at various hours of the day with maximum benefit for the business. For example:

  • develop traffic flows
  • optimize display placement and floor planning
  • improve strategic staff distribution
  • draw correlations within the dwell time and purchasing
  • predict products for individual shopping groups

Enhancing Customer Experience

Every business should know as much as possible about its audience to offer the best possible service. AI in grocery stores using video intelligence software gives detailed demographic data with a detailed analysis of shopping habits. This information provides unlimited opportunities for stores to increase profits. By knowing their customers, store managers can maximize the client shopping experience, creating favorable conditions (made specifically for customers’ preferences). Furthermore, AI for grocery stores can help produce the most accurate demand forecasting models of the given target market. 

In addition to working with the target audience, managers can transfer information to the marketing department with the data obtained from video analytics. By exploring other audiences, marketers can develop strategies to attract new customers by creating relevant advertising, promotions, and sales. Additionally, stores can create separate display cases (vegan products or gluten-free) for small shopping groups, satisfying their needs. 

Among all existing technologies of artificial intelligence for grocery stores, video content analytics provides maximum support in almost all activities: merchandising, marketing, advertising, and layout strategies. By optimizing these processes, stores not only save and reduce losses, but also have the opportunity to expand their business by increasing profits. The main goal is not only to satisfy customers, but to strengthen customer retention rate.

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Intel and Sinclair Holdings Build First All-Digital Hotel for a Greener and More Personal Experience

FORT WORTH, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, Intel announced its collaboration with The Sinclair, Autograph Collection, in Fort Worth, Texas, the world’s first all-digital hotel. The Sinclair utilizes Intel internet of things (IoT) functionality, including building and in-room sensors, IoT gateways, dashboards and restaurant sinks and appliances. Together, Intel and …

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The Future of Hospitality is Immersive, Connected Hotels

A new type of hotel beckons weary travelers who enjoy the connected life. The Sinclair, Autograph Collection in Fort Worth, Texas, is on the cutting edge of the hospitality space, leveraging IoT (Internet of Things) technologies in useful and creative ways to improve guests’ experience, enhance hotel management, and reduce the building’s carbon footprint. Together with technology companies like Intel, The Sinclair is reimagining the future of hotel operations and guest experiences through connected technology.

Intel SinclairThe Sinclair features cutting-edge IoT technology built into its infrastructure, connecting everything from building operations to in-room conveniences. Joe Jensen, vice president of Intel’s Internet of Things Group and general manager of Intel’s Retail Solutions Division, says the hospitality industry has a unique, personal relationship with consumers, who look to the industry to provide a home away from home during their hotel visits. “As immersive technologies like IoT become increasingly pervasive in everyday life, consumers now expect smart, digitally connected experiences when they travel, as well,” Jensen explains. “There is an industry-wide opportunity to strengthen the customer experience by radically transforming the traditional hotel.”

The key to such transformation, Jensen suggests, is the IoT. At The Sinclair, hotel staff can use mobile devices to connect to reservation and property-management software anywhere on the premises, increasing productivity and customer service. Wireless POS (point-of-sale) systems enable food and drink sales anywhere on the property. Hotel rooms automatically configure environmental settings like temperature and lighting to guests’ pre-selected preferences. Even the hotel gym plays a role, featuring exercise equipment that generates energy and feeds it back into the hotel’s power grid to reduce its carbon footprint.

Intel SinclairIntel’s IoT gateway brings together the data, edge computing power, and management capabilities of the smart building infrastructure. Other technology that powers the hotel, according to Jensen, includes a smart Wi-Fi cloud networking solution from Cisco, which offers location-based analytics and personalized guest messaging; VoltServer’s PoE (Power over Ethernet), which delivers its “Digital Electricity” solution to power Cisco switches; motorized shades and drapes from Somfy; PoE-powered LED mirrors from Electric Mirror; and even SinkTech IoT sinks in the hotel restaurant that regulate water temperature, soap, and sanitizer levels.

“In order to stay competitive and differentiate their offerings, hotels will increasingly adopt smart home conveniences and amenities to retain loyal guests and attract new customers,” Jensen adds. “While the initial investment costs of an all-digital hotel may be prohibitive for boutique or smaller facilities, over time, early adopters will see these technological implementations result in reduced operational costs and increased energy efficiencies, leading to longer-term savings.”

Intel Sinclair

As the technologies integrated into The Sinclair become more commonplace and readily available, it will be easier for hotels to implement these innovations into their facilities. One day, this type of innovative hotel will become the norm in hospitality. For now, it’s a new benchmark in connected home away from home.

Source: Connected World

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Where top VCs are investing in travel, tourism and hospitality tech

The venture community has been fixated on travel and hospitality since the dot-com era and early-2000s, when mainstays like Kayak and Airbnb were still Silicon Valley darlings. As the multi-trillion-dollar global travel and hospitality market continues to grow, VCs are still foaming at the mouth for the opportunity to redefine the ways we move and stay around the world.

Despite the cyclical nature of the travel sector, deal flow in travel and hospitality has remained strong and largely stable over the last half-decade, according to data from Crunchbase and PitchBook. Over the same period, we’ve seen more than a handful of startups in the space reach unicorn status, including companies like Klook, Sonder, Flixbus, Vacasa, Wheels Up, TripActions and others.

High-profile funding rounds also appear to be popping up across travel and hospitality’s various sub-sectors, including bookings, activity marketplaces, short-term rental, tourism and hotel platforms. And companies are continuing to pull in funding rounds in the hundreds of millions to billion-dollar range, such as India hotel network company Oyo, which raised $1.5 billion in funding as recently as December.

While VC investment in the space has remained resilient, some investors are predicting it’s only a matter of time before the travel startup world hits a downturn. To get a temperature check on the state of the travel market, the outlook for fundraising and which sub-sectors might present the most attractive opportunities for startups today, we asked five leading VCs at firms spanning early to growth stages to share what’s exciting them most and where they see opportunity in travel, tourism and hospitality tech:

Source:

Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch