Biometrics and AI to help retail recovery being developed, launched and tested around the world
Solutions with facial recognition and other biometrics to restore the fortunes of physical retailers are being developed, funded and trialed around the world. Orbbec 3D sees kiosk retrofitting as a major opportunity to adapt existing infrastructure to touchless processes, while CyberLink is seeing strong demand for its new safe retail offering. Indian startup Entropik Tech has raised $8 million for retail analytics with non-biometric facial analysis, like a system from NEC going through proof of concept testing. QNAP Systems and Kabn Systems North America have each formed partnerships to help retailers with facial recognition.
3D technologies like facial biometrics will play a key role in converting touchscreen kiosks to touchless use to adapt to heath concerns arising from the global pandemic, Orbbec 3D Co-founder and Director of Engineering David Chen tells Kiosk Marketplace.
Chen notes that 84 percent of U.S. consumers polled in a recent Capgemini Research Institute survey say the expect to increase their use of touchless technologies, and more than half expect that trend to persist beyond the crisis.
Small and inexpensive 3D cameras can be deployed to kiosks to allow the form-factor to thrive into the future, Chen argues, powering not only biometric facial recognition but also eye-gaze tracking or hand gesture-based “air pointing” for contactless ordering. Payments can be completed without reaching for a wallet or smartphone to improve customer experiences while inhibiting viral spread. 3D biometrics can also be used with loss prevention and fraud, Chen writes.
Chen claims that 3D cameras the size of a AA battery are now available for the same price as a good 2D camera, and can deliver financial-grade security. The technology does away with typical requirements for lighting associated with facial recognition systems, and performs accurately regardless of changes like facial hair or makeup.
Retrofitted devices, including kiosks but also others like timeclocks, can be funded through the CARES Act, Chen says.
Retail AI heating up, with and without facial recognition
Modern Retail notes that CyberLink has been working with a number of physical stores in the U.S. to provide biometric facial recognition with its FaceMe. The retail deployments detect gender, age and body language to gather marketing insights.
CyberLink Senior VP and General Manager Richard Carriere recently presented during a webinar on “The state of AI in retail,” hosted by Ai4, along with representatives of eBay, Walmart Labs, Linkgraph and AT&T. Carriere says that the FaceMe Health solution, which detects masks and creates alerts for retail operators to create safe shopping environments, has been very popular, and can be retrofitted to existing systems.
Strategy consulting firm Clareo’s Principal Lauren Raouf says AI and facial recognition could help brick-and-mortar retailers compete with ecommerce vendors through more personalized experiences. Some industry players, however, such as Advertima, offer shopper behavior analysis and targeted in-store advertising, but without biometrics.
The new round gives Entropik a valuation of between $40 and $50 million.
The company uses facial analysis, brainwave and eye tracking to generate insights into product attractiveness, and was used by Tata Consumer Ltd. in its launch of spice and pulse brand Tata Sampann. It’s flagship platform affectlab.io has been used to track more than 50 million people in 110 countries for real-time campaign feedback, according to the article.
Entropik currently has more than 80 enterprise customers, including P&G, Accenture and Target.
NEC Corporation has also launched a retail analytics proof of concept in collaboration with convenience store chain Lawson, which will is running through the end of September in Indonesia to improve store operations and sales.
Biometric retail systems launched as QNAP and Kabn form partnerships
For those companies wanting to identify individuals, QNAP Systems has announced that its smart facial recognition solution QVR Face is now supported by its rackmount NAS model servers. The solution can be used together with QNAP partner Cayin’s CMS Station to provide smart retail signage.
The QVR Face biometric solution provides real-time video analytics from RTSP video streams and photos uploaded by users. The analytics can then be used for biometric access control, attendance management, and retail applications.
QNAP launched its network-attached storage facial recognition solution early in 2020.
Loop Insights and Kabn Systems North America have partnered to create a verified digital ID check-in service for large scale venues, using Kabn’s biometrics-backed Liquid Avatars.
Check-ins are being required for an increasing number of interactions for contact tracing purposes, and Kabn’s biometrics and blockchain technology are expected to enhance the security of Loop’s contact tracing check-in solution. Users create Liquid Avatars as digital icons to represent their online personas, enabling the sharing of different amounts of private data based on the requirements of the specific interaction.
Loop’s AI platform is provided to physical and online retailers as a turnkey solution, allowing stores in all channels to transact with users with biometrically verified identities stored in a blockchain-enabled digital wallet.