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How can AI and movement tracking help us reignite the economy

(Image credit: Image Credit: Razum / Shutterstock)

Dejan Subosic, President of Deep North EMEA explores how tools such as AI and movement tracking can help businesses resume business as normal.

1.            Why better understanding of consumer behavior in physical environments can help ensure health and safety measures are maintained?

Businesses worldwide have faced some huge challenges that have affected the way they work. It's becoming increasingly evident that the bid to reopen their doors in a safe and responsible manner will prove to be yet another uphill battle.

Recently, the UK government announced that lockdown measures will be further relaxed. However, controls are still in place and as businesses begin to open, upholding these restrictions and providing a safe environment is paramount.

For example, airports, retailers and the hospitality industry will need to adjust the way they operate and ensure they can adhere to social distancing rules. To achieve this, businesses will need to use accurate and reliable data to improve the safety of employees and customers while delivering a seamless customer experience.

2.            How organizations can understand the data available to enhance the user experience, for example, identifying where in-store customers cluster to inform where high-trafficked goods are placed?

One tool that will play a key role in ensuring safety measure as we shift to the “new normal” is computer vision and AI-powered analytics. This technology can be used to measure the occupancy of buildings and in-store movements to better understand consumer behavior and ease businesses’ willingness to open their facilities and welcome back their customers under these new circumstances.

Rather than use manual counters at entrances and exits, businesses can more effectively measure store occupancy and use this insight to manage operations and alert customers on safety levels. The technology can help determine queue lengths and wait times to get in-store or check-out. This is particularly useful to understand if customers and employees are operating by social distancing standards and how better to uphold them. Through data analysis, businesses can better identify where in-store customers cluster to ensure proper shelving and distancing between essential and high-trafficked goods. Ultimately, this ensures that organizations can provide a seamless user experience that keeps both customers and employees safe.

3.            The role of AI in automating decision making and helping businesses understand the action they need to take in response to certain triggers?

Compared to other solutions on the market that focus on customer visitation, an AI-based decision platform can create customized triggers and responses for businesses based on the data. This can allow these businesses to increase customer satisfaction, revenues and decrease their operational costs.

An example of this is if there are more than "X" people in the queue line. AI technology can ping the employees to open a new cash register. Similarly, if the threshold for maximum occupancy has been reached or other applications have been met, then the trigger can inform employees. These triggers can be customized to fit the business’s needs, to better serve their customers.

4.            How AI can improve the in-store customer experience in the long-term by providing the ability to assess, interpret and predict consumer behavior in a commercial, physical space?

As we move slowly back into what may look like a brave new world of business and trade structures initially, it will certainly be interesting to see which elements of this “new normal” actually stay the journey.

Bricks and mortar businesses are in need of unique solutions that drive growth, provide adaptability, enable sales, and ensure the safety of their customer base as we slowly return to normality. By transforming in-store video data into intelligence insights then brands can successfully create customer-centric experiences based on consumers patterns and preferences. Retailers can understand how customers interact with shelves, end caps, and special merchandising to inform product placements in-store. While managers of commercial buildings can see the current state of their building’s occupancy and activity in real time to plan for better energy management.

For now, though, it seems almost inevitable that the use of analytics and AI for the physical world will be considered as a strong tool for the continuation and growth of business moving forward. It's more important than ever that companies and institutions that manage physical spaces start understanding their data so that they can better guarantee the safety of their staff and customers. Data in the physical world is no longer a nice to have – it's a need to have. It will be fundamental in allowing commercial buildings, shopping centers, retail stores, and transportation hubs to reclaim footfall traffic and improve user experiences.

5.            How quickly can the technology be deployed in stores to ensure a safe shopping experience?

Many businesses already have cameras and CCTV in operation meaning that it is just a case of utilizing existing infrastructure and there is no footprint at all from the solution. This is one of the core strengths of the AI system being fully camera agnostic working with all makes and models.

If existing infrastructure in terms of cameras is in place, a store or a shopping center can be fully deployed in a matter of days.

6.            Is there anything new for the Covid-19 challenges, or has the pandemic merely made the technology more relevant?

The pandemic has made the technology even more relevant. The ones that have been most affected by the pandemic are transportation hubs like airports, retailers, and shopping centers. While a strong stance on social distancing has been taken, many are still facing large crowds and with that, an unprecedented need for a solution that helps to create plans and processes which can ensure the health and safety of both their employees and customers. As things slowly begin to return to normal, the demand for these solutions will no doubt increase. This technology will soon be put to use as part of the aforementioned solution in ongoing efforts to flatten the curve, while keeping business afloat.

Dejan Subosic, President, Deep North EMEA