The growing field of entranceway technology promises a safer doors-open policy as more and more commercial operations reopen their buildings, offices, and facilities in the wake of coronavirus-related closures.
Sophisticated sensing technologies, high-quality video cameras, infrared detectors, and other data collecting tools are being integrated with machine learning and artificial intelligence processing capabilities to provide physical stores with both enhanced intelligence about their shoppers and greater capabilities to manage and control the retail space in the midst of a global pandemic.
Some sensing devices can be tuned for a mask or facial coverings, as well as body temperatures and fever detection.
In order to support all the best practices for physical distancing, companies like Canadian technology firm BIG Digital are supporting business across North America with platforms to help with queue management (including line-ups outside, the number of people inside and corresponding wait times; product and service messaging, (such as store hours and out-of-stock items).
From those sophisticated automatic doorways with high-tech capabilities to more simple installs that basically involve a $99 video camera, entryways are the new portal to what’s promised to be for consumers, a safer, more satisfying shopper experience, and for the business owner, a more reliable way to gather demographic and other data about their customer.
A data visualization and facial recognition company called Kairos, for example, has launched its new Kairos Camera said to provide data on customer age, gender, emotion, dwell time, and new and return visits. Retailers receive analysis and key insights through a custom analytics dashboard, and the camera integrates with point-of-sale and inventory management systems.
Access system developer Assa Abloy Entrance Systems was among many companies participating in BuildPoint 2019, an industry trade conference where retail and business owners review the latest innovations in the sector, including technological developments such as big data, mobile and proximity marketing, A.I. and machine learning, along with architectural design, construction, and renovation of retail facilities.
Based in Toronto, BIG Digital recently rolled out its SafeChek digital entranceway technology system for grocery stores, malls, commercial buildings, and offices, in partnership with A1 Innovation Group, which develops people-counting solutions.
Entranceway (or entry, or access) technology solutions like SafeChek let retail managers or building supervisors monitor and control occupancy levels at indoor and outdoor locations like malls, retailers, airports, walkways, elevators, construction sites, and the like, all while maintaining real-time communication with customers and users.
Providing real-time, contextual information to people on-the-go has been one of Big Digital’s calling cards: its team launched one of Canada’s first digital signage and safety networks, Onestop Media Group, in the Toronto Transit Commission system in 2005, explained Michael Girgis, co-founder of Big Digital, adding the network later was expanded to airports, malls, residential and commercial high-rises and more.
Entranceway technology systems like SafeChek’s are used to deliver important customer information like timed-ticket reservation/appointment messaging, product availability or out-of-stock items, current wait times and other information of interest to consumers in public spaces.
As sectors within the economy start to cautiously re-open. Such messages can have even greater importance and impact, helping everyone participate in and contribute to effective pandemic response and operations.
For business owners and store managers, the key data and shopper analytics provided by entranceway technology systems are a valuable tool as well, providing actionable insights into shopper behaviour from accumulated past purchase profile data, shopping frequency and duration, in-store traffic flows and interactions with promotional displays and presentations.
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