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Frictionless retail projects with facial recognition from SenseTime, Popcom, Solmate ramp up

AiFi forms computer vision analytics partnership
Frictionless retail projects with facial recognition from SenseTime, Popcom, Solmate ramp up

A number of companies across the globe have stepped up their ‘frictionless’ retail efforts for payments and marketing with biometrics and computer vision in the last weeks of 2021. PopCom is launching its PopShop vending machines in various U.S. cities, Hivestack has partnered with Solmate in Taiwan, and SoftBank is supporting the deployment of SenseTime facial recognition in Japan. Also, Compass Group UK & Ireland announced it will launch its first “frictionless” store in a workplace in early 2022 via a partnership with AiFi,

SenseTime Japanese facial recognition deployments expand

SenseTime has been revealed as the facial recognition provider behind a trial of the technology for payments at three Tokyo Wendy’s locations, through a license held by Softbank’s mobile unit, Nikkei Asia reports.

Softbank’s Vision Fund is SenseTime’s second-largest stakeholder, with a 14.9 percent share in the China-based company. SenseTime has decided to relaunch an IPO in Hong Kong, with a quartet of institutional investors claiming two-thirds, which may reorder the company’s top shareholders.

Japan Computer Vision (JCV), another Softbank subsidiary, is also deploying SenseTime’s biometric technology for pandemic-related access control systems at restaurants, gyms and offices, Nikkei writes. JCV also backs PopID, which supplies its PopPay to process payments with SenseTime’s facial recognition.

A JCV official told Nikkei that all customer information is stored in Japan, and not shared with the Chinese government, and also that SenseTime’s placement on the U.S. entity list does not limit companies in Japan or America from using its technology.

SenseTime also supplies autonomous driving technologies to Japan-based Honda Motor.

Public deployments of facial recognition technology remain somewhat contentious in Japan, with Nikkei noting that the country’s largest rail operator, JR East, scrapped a deployment in September following a public backlash.

Popcom launches vending machines in the US

The PopShop vending machines use facial recognition to help retailers capture individuals’ demographic information.

Machine learning is then utilized to deliver targeted content, while blockchain technology helps secure users’ identity verification and the sale of regulated products.

Thanks to these tools, the vending machines will enable small business owners to determine if a location is a good fit for their brand, while also understanding in real-time who the right customer is.

According to PopCom Founder Dawn Dickson, the company already counts 20 customers across the U.S., selling different types of products, with plans of launching additional vending machines in the coming months.

Hivestack and Solmate Media partner in Taiwan

Hivestack is a programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH) ad tech company. Its partnership with DOOH network Solmate will enable the companies to offer brands the opportunity to purchase and activate DOOH inventory programmatically.

The firms will do so by leveraging Hivestack SSP via Open Exchange and Private Marketplace (PMP) deals.

Solmate provides premium digital screens with integrated facial recognition, and has placed 6,000 in hair salons across Taiwan.

The partnership is reportedly the first of this kind in the Taiwanese market and will be instrumental in driving accelerated adoption of programmatic DOOH in the country.

“We are very pleased to be partnering with Hivestack in Taiwan and look forward to expanding our DOOH presence in the local market,” says Solmate CEO Yaw Ren Tsai.

“By leveraging Hivestack’s market-leading technology and our network of premium DOOH screens, we can raise awareness for the programmatic DOOH channel and connect better with the global marketplace.”

Compass Group teams up with AiFi

The shop is scheduled to open in Ireland in early 2022 and will use AiFi’s artificial intelligence (AI)-based computer vision technology to enable customers to purchase items in-store without having to wait in line or stop to scan or pay.

Customers will merely have to check-in when entering the shop, then computer vision cameras will anonymously track them, adding the selected items to a virtual shopping cart.

Once they are done, customers will simply leave the shop, and a receipt will be delivered directly to their phone. The Compass Group clarified the system does not use biometrics or facial recognition.

Additional sites are planned to be opened in the U.K. over the course of 2022, including units within other corporate clients, and in the sports and leisure and defense sectors.

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