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VCA Technology develops dedicated surveillance software to assist retail sector

07 May 2020

VIDEO ANALYTICS specialist VCA Technology has developed a new software tool to help retailers manage the monitoring of footfall and occupancy in their stores. The software is able to analyse shoppers’ movements in, out and around a given store by simply mapping their gait – or how they walk – which is unique to everyone. By mapping this movement, retailers will be able to differentiate shoppers, while not infringing on their privacy.

With retailers needing to manage social distancing within stores for the foreseeable future, this solution enables them to monitor the store and apply rules to trigger alerts. This is especially crucial in queue management, which would otherwise require rigorous manual oversight. Alerts, on the other hand, can help focus attention to where it’s needed; thereby keeping members of staff safe.

Kevin Waterhouse, managing director at VCA Technology, commented: “The COVID-19 pandemic has rewritten the rules of retail. The social distancing policies we have seen introduced will not suddenly disappear when lockdown ends. The technology we’ve created helps retailers to manage this new normal by integrating with existing software, yet providing extra value-adds. For example, the one in, one out policy is easy to manage in small shops, but for superstores with multiple entrances and exits it's much harder to regulate without funnelling everyone through one door, thereby creating queue hazards. Analysis will help to manage this process digitally, thereby regulating store occupancy in a more efficient way and allowing for a seamless entrance and exit strategy.”

The software can provide the data to create the following information: queue counting, unique identifiers to prevent double counting, Time-in-Store analysis, heat maps, Time at Checkout analysis, staff detection, forensic search by unique ID and walk-offs/basket abandonment.

The technology is already being trialled by a major Spanish retailer with its incumbent cameras and security software.

Waterhouse concluded: “Store layouts will probably change in light of COVID-19. Until then, retailers need technology to be doing the heavy lifting and alerting to potential breaches of the distancing rules. Retailers can use this intelligence to help form store strategies moving forward, in turn enabling a more sophisticated response, while at the same time ensuring shoppers’ privacy.”