Intel and Chinese internet giant Tencent have teamed up for two AI products for retailers to gain insights on customer behaviour.
The two bits of hardware, the “DeepGaze” camera and “YouBox”, have been developed as part of a collaboration between Intel and YouTu Lab, Tencent’s research arm focused on machine learning, image processing, and data mining.
DeepGaze captures how shoppers move around stores, as well as the store’s capacity at various times of the day. Relevant data from the camera is then transferred to Tencent’s cloud for analytics.
The YouBox gives retailers with older in-store cameras the same AI capability. Up to 16 cameras can be connected to the AI box, enabling deep neural networks to be run.
DeepGaze is powered by Intel’s Movidius Myriad 2 VPU, which provides vision processing solutions including 3D-depth sensing, gesture and eye tracking, and pose estimation.
It’s optimised for a variety of robotics, smart security, virtual reality, and drone products, including those developed by Google and DJI. YouBox is powered by the improved-upon Movidius Myriad X VPU.
AI Box Turns Older Retail Cameras Into Smart Cameras
“YouTu camera and box perform inference at the edge in tandem with Intel Xeon Scalable processors in the cloud to provide cost-effective and flexible solutions for verticals including and construction,” said Simon Wu, GM of Tencent YouTu Lab.
Remi El-Ouazzane, VP and COO of AI Products Group at Intel, said the products will provide real-time data for businesses, including retail and smart buildings.
“With artificial intelligence, enterprises can gain new insights about their customers to both elevate the users’ experience and drive business transformation,” said Remi El-Ouazzane, VP and COO of AI Products Group at Intel.
Customer insights garnered from real-time tracking data can be used by companies to predict sales, Intel said.
They’ll also be able to automatically alert store employees to restock shelves and faster determine whether products are in stock, ultimately to improve the customer experience.
China Leading in Surveillance
Tencent’s rival JD.com last year announced plans to open unmanned convenience stores, using facial recognition tech at check-out.
Alibaba has also outlined its “New Retail” concept that aims to combine the experiences of online shopping and visiting a bricks-and-mortar store.
China is leading the world in facial recognition and digital surveillance technology; the country’s controversial ranking system, due to be rolled out by 2020, uses social credit to reward or penalise its citizens based on their behaviour.
China also has reportedly equipped police with smart glasses that have facial recognition software to screen passengers during busy periods.