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Retail biometrics heating up with new cloud services, successful PoCs, expansion and joint venture


biometric facial recognition

Retailers continue to roll out biometrics for a range of applications, and CyberLink provides examples in the form of a pair of case studies to explain its robot and self-service projects. PayByFace’s CEO has commented further on the company’s international expansion, new software from startups Vision Insight and Voltox is joining the market, and VSBLTY is part of a joint initiative to install its technology.

CyberLink powers robot and self-service retail operations

The Ayuda Service Robot from Syscom and the Tokyu Hands concept store in Shibuya have each integrated CyberLink’s face biometrics to deliver innovative retail customer interactions, which are described in a pair of case studies released by the company.

Previous service robots had replied with a single answer to any given question, and their interactions had seemed rigid and lacking in humanity, according to the Ayuda case study. CyberLink’s FaceMe facial recognition enables Ayuda to look at the eyes of customers it is interacting with, and recognize characteristics such as age, gender, and emotion to customize replies and services to the individual, the company says.

The robot has been adopted by many companies and government institutions in Japan and Taiwan, for applications including VIP greetings, guided tours, as well as biometric identification of suspicious individuals.

The unstaffed Tokyu Hands store likewise utilizes FaceMe’s biometric age, gender and emotion recognition capabilities, combining them with NTT Data’s voice-to-text technology to collect data for improved customer service, product development and estimated return-on-investment for promotional events. Remote sales consultants can communicate in real-time with customers, appearing as avatars on the store’s monitors.

The successful proof-of-concept includes the use of anonymized AT data analytics to enhance the self-service customer experience, CyberLink says.

PayByFace details Bulgaria expansion

The expansion efforts of PayByFace in Bulgaria are in essence a repeat of what the company has done in Romania, but with a Bulgarian gateway, CEO Mihai Draghici says in a video interview  posted by The Recursive.

The Bulgarian gateway was built by Raiffeisen through the Visa Innovation Program, and is therefore locally known, which Draghici points out helps to build trust with the card and mobile device-free service bring introduced in the country.

Eleven Ventures Design Partner Rene Tomova speaks about the fit between PayByFace’s biometric retail payments technology and Raiffeisen’s strategy, and notes that PayByFace had an internal champion within the bank who recognized that fit.

Vision Insight launches biometric SaaS for SMBs

Vision Insight IO has introduced a new computer vision software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering to bring face biometrics that works with masks and analyzes customer emotion and behavior to small retailers and other businesses.

The cloud service can be used to make informed marketing decision based on data streamed from current or legacy cameras, according to the company announcement. Insights are delivered in real-time for immediate action, and can benefit offices, production plants, schools and other environments, Vision Insight says.

Voltox launches biometric logins and payments

Voltox has likewise launched a biometric authentication SaaS for ecommerce merchants, as well as retailers, finance companies and SME back offices.

The company says its face biometrics can be used for remote digital KYC processes and payment authentication, and are also available as a white label solution for reseller or integrator partners.

“We understand the complexity of the modern e-commerce/POS merchant and of contemporary processes in financial institutions and back offices. That’s exactly why we developed VOLTOX: to help businesses automate time-consuming processes, get to know their customers even better and target them more effectively,” says Shefket Robelli, founder and CEO of Voltox.

VSBLTY launches joint venture to install retail system

VSBLTY’s relationship with Grupo Modelo and Retailigent has been extended again, with the partners agreeing to launch a joint venture by the end of Q2 2021 to install and manage the international network of in-store media installations powered by VSBLTY’s biometrics in Modelorama and independent bodegas in Mexico and Latin America.

The partners intend to reach 5,000 locations in Mexico, Columbia, Peru and Ecuador by the end of 2021, and complete their mission of deploying to 50,000 stores by the end of 2024.

“The deployments are already underway in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador and we have started contracting media time to consumer-packaged goods brands to advertise to Latin American shoppers right at point-of-sale where buying decisions are made. VSBLTY will be supplying its proprietary software for analytics, security, and visual display,” states VSBLTY Co-founder and CEO Jay Hutton. “The three firms will be equal partners in the joint venture. VSBLTY will earn revenue from the joint venture in two ways. First, and more modestly, from the licensing fees to VSBLTY for the proprietary software that will be leveraged by the joint venture, and second, and most significantly, VSBLTY will share in one-third of the annual operating profits from advertising revenue, modeled to be greater than $200MM USD in total to the joint venture over the first five years.”

“By leveraging technology and analytics we can play a pivotal role in the communities we serve by improving the safety and quality of the shopping experience for the millions of store owners with whom we do business every day,” comments Grupo Modelo Vice President of Technology & Transformation, Middle Americas Pedro Garavito. “Not only can the various solutions around Internet of Things (IoT) offer real time access to point-of-sale systems to allow store owners to dynamically optimize their business, but we can also incorporate security, consumer analytics and display advertising under the same platform. At the same time, we will be enabling local store owners and operators to remain competitive as retail consolidates in most Latin American markets. The innovation and agility provided by VSBLTY and Retailigent Media, when coupled with our reach, will allow us to have a meaningful and positive impact on the retail industry in Central and South America.”

Under the agreement, VSBLTY has issued purchase warrants for up to 15.5 million of its common shares at an exercise price of CA$0.84 per share, subject to vesting conditions based on the number of locations the system operates in.

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