AI-Powered CCTV Cameras to Help Shops Maintain Social Distancing in Times of Covid-19

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The AI software is loaded into the surveillance systems of a retailer which would do the calculations and give out alarms and also worker productivity results.
Last Updated: May 3, 2020, 12:45 PM IST

Can the ubiquitous surveillance camera enforce social distancing inside retail outlets, larger open markets and also enable generating productivity details of store workers? Can it also sense the body temperature of shoppers entering a shop?

“Yes”, says industry players who are into the domain of using the images captured by the CCTV and to give out different reports using artificial intelligence.

“With the fear of Coronavirus spread set to be there for some more time to come, retail outlets may not experience the kind of footfalls they got pre-Covid-19 days. But retailers can provide their customers a comfort level by maintaining social distance inside their stores with the help of artificial intelligence solutions,” Surender Gounder, Founder & CEO Tango IT India Private Ltd told IANS.

Gounder said law enforcement agencies can be alerted by monitoring the people’s movement on the road and in an open market (vegetable and others) so that they can be ready to manage the crowd or maintain social distance norms.

Simply put, the artificial intelligence software is loaded into the surveillance systems of a retailer which would do the calculations and give out alarms and also worker productivity results.

“Heat mapping of a retail outlet could be done. The spots where is overcrowding would be shown in red colour and the spots where there are no shoppers will be in green on the CCTV screen. Using 3D geometry social distancing can be measured and an alarm is given,” Manoj Tandon, India Operations Head, Digitech Labs told IANS.

Gounder and Tandon said alarm messages can be shown on the CCTV monitors and the messages can also be sent to the store manager’s mobile phone who can request the shoppers to maintain social distancing.

They also said voice alarms can also be broadcast inside the stores as it is impersonal and shoppers may not take any offence.

Tandon said there are infrared cameras that can also measure the body temperature of a shopper.

The Hyderabad based Vehant Technologies has developed a thermal screening system with additional analytics like face mask and social distance monitoring. It generates alarm in case of any deviations.

“Using advanced facial detection technique, it detects facial temperature for more accurate measurement and generates an alert when it detects high temperature,” Cherukumalli Rao, General Manager (sales), Vehant Technologies, had told IANS in Hyderabad.

According to Gounder, Tango IT has deployed its software in about 250 retail outlets belonging to ten retail chains across the country to give out various analytics like store worker productivity and others.

“By adding the new module, monitoring of the shopper’s movement can be done and alerts are generated once the number of shoppers in a particular section exceeds the threshold level,” Gounder said.

Tandon said the traditional Customer Relation Management (CRM) solution comes into play only when a customer does a transaction like buying a product or others.

But the artificial intelligence solution can be integrated with existing CRM solution of a business and start generating data on real time basis the moment a person enters a shop by capturing his image, Tandon said.

He said the solution can say whether a shopper is a new customer or an existing one for the retail chain as a whole, his previous purchase record, his store activity, the time spent on various sections and the like.

“Based on the data the stores can make a customised discount offer whenever he comes to a shop,” Tandon said.

“The pattern of shopping is expected to change post lockdown. We have deployed AI-powered solution at our stores in Chennai where the shops are yet to open,” Chandu Reddy, Director, Sangeetha Mobiles told IANS.

Sangeetha Mobiles is a mobile phone retail chain with 650 outlets in South India.

“Perhaps mobile phone customers can also fix up appointments with retail outlets and shop at the appointed time. This way the retailers can also give focused attention and also maintain social distance,” Reddy said.

Gounder said, large hotels are also looking at the post lockdown situation and the maintenance of social distance in common places inside the building.

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