Distributor agreement, $11M funding, and new vending machines for retail biometrics announced

Distributor agreement, $11M funding, and new vending machines for retail biometrics announced

A distribution agreement with Facewatch brings facial recognition to UK CCTV camera and components distributor DVS’ installer and reseller network to deter crime at retail stores.

Facewatch is sold as a GDPR-compliant licensed product, with the biometrics provider taking on responsibility for uploaded criminal data through a data sharing agreement with the user. The technology is available to approved installers with training on the setup of cameras and aspects of running and maintaining the system.

“Facial recognition is being discussed within businesses and the wider world by those who understand that the best technologies can deter and prevent crime,” comments DVS Ltd. Commercial Director Gavin Dunleavy. “Facewatch is the leading facial recognition solution with a focus on the retail sector and other verticals alike. With GDPR compliance and privacy controls built into the system the solution becomes powerful and legally deployable. Facewatch combines simple CCTV hardware with a secure cloud-based software solution, so accredited training and support is of the upmost importance for our installers to deliver this incredible solution. We will be running training from our HQ initially then across the UK with a plan to have trained and accredited strategic partners in place throughout 2020.”

FaceWatch CEO Nick Fisher says that the sophistication of the company’s SaaS product requires the training and support of a highly technical team like DVS’s.

Customers can add a shoplifter to the watchlist with only 6 key presses and within 20 seconds, according to the announcement, by following a dropdown menu. Unmatched images are deleted within 0.3 seconds, and the alert process, from suspect entry to receipt by the retailer, takes less than 2 seconds.

Adroit raises $11M to accelerate automated retail growth

Computer vision startup Adroit Worldwide Media (AWM), sometimes known as AWM Smart Shelf, has announced the completion of an $11 million Preferred Series A financing round to accelerate the growth of its biometric retail technologies and strengthen its global footprint.

The funding round was led by Impact Venture Capital, with participation from existing investors Mark IV Capital and The Contrarian Group. Impact Venture Capital General Partner Jack Crawford also joined the AWM Board of Directors.

The company developed the AWM Frictionless shopping application as an advanced cashierless checkout system that allows shoppers to purchase items from a digital wallet without scanning them or standing in line, through advanced computer vision and deep learning algorithms. AWM offerings also include Automated Inventory Intelligence (Aii) and consumer behavior tracking.

“The Impact Venture Capital team along with our other seasoned board members and highly valued investors see the vision for where the retail sector is headed,” explains Kevin Howard, AWM Chief Executive Officer. “In partnership with these investors, AWM has the ability to transform retail through our vision technologies. As one of the clear market leaders in the sector, a seamless and sustainable marketplace powered by our technologies is on the short-term horizon.”

Duty-free vending machines in Japan

Japan has changed its laws around duty-free goods to allow them to be sold in vending machines with facial recognition and passport authentication as part of an effort to deal with a labor shortage, particularly outside of the largest cities, Kyodo News reports.

The number of foreign visitors to the country is rising, and the government hopes to stimulate their spending by addressing the staffing issues. The plan is expected to be included in fiscal 2020 tax reform proposals, and the vending machines may roll out in fiscal 2021.

The vending machines, which will be installed in airports, train stations, and shopping malls, will require an internet connection so that sale records can be sent to the customer’s country’s customs clearing system.

The number of duty-free shops across the country has quintupled in the past five years, according to the report.

SIM vending kiosks in Russia

Russia’s largest mobile operator Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTS) has integrated the Smart Passport Reader and facial recognition from Smart Engines and VisionLabs, respectively, into kiosks for issuing SIM cards.

The Smart Engines and VisionLabs technologies are integrated by Leta IT Company. The kiosks feature two cameras, one for Smart Engine’s OCR technology to capture identity data from passports to prefill the necessary data, and another for biometric verification.

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