Tapway launches biometric business intelligence system for physical stores

Business intelligence startup Tapway has launched a facial recognition product to provide customer identity information and analytics to physical business premises such as hotels, banks, and retail stores.

Tapway FaceTrack is currently in beta testing, and includes cloud services, server hardware, camera systems and software, and is currently available in the company’s home country Malaysia, Technology Magazine reports. A cloud subscription model is planned, once the bandwidth requirements of streaming HD video are less onerous. FaceTrack runs from a GPU-equipped “AI box” on the client’s premises, and runs Tapway AI image analysis software and Amazon Rekognition. It can perform whitelist and blacklist detection, as well as age, gender, and emotion analysis.

“Our core is in people tracking and we do this for our clients, most of whom are in the retail sector. We are able to do people tracking using special purpose-built cameras that can accurately track the number of people entering and exiting a premises. We are also able to tell how long they spend in a particular area and track their location, providing a heat map,” Tapway CEO Lim Chee How told Digital News Asia.

The system cost depends on the size of the area it is being deployed in, and how many cameras are needed, but Lim says the hardware and installation are the only capital costs needed. It can also be integrated with existing CCTV systems, though Lim recommends they have Full HD resolution and optical zoom capabilities.

The company has raised RM 906,000 (roughly US$216,000) so far from angel investors Segnel Ventures and Mavcap, and current Tapway clients include shoe retailer Bata and fast food chain Carl’s Jr. It is also used by a public advertising company, in testing at a shopping mall, and is being considered for deployment in another shopping mall in development. The company is focussing its efforts on the Malaysian and Singaporean markets for the present.

While retail applications of facial recognition are slowly increasing in North America, applications in Asia are significantly more extensive due to differences in regional and national contexts.

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