Enable retail surveillance cameras for AI video analytics

Self-checkout in supermarkets & grocery stores is on the rise. Here's how to start simple & fast, using AI video technology.

Self-checkout Azena

Amazon has opened its first cashier-less supermarket in 2020, leading the way to the future of self-service. What many retailers don't know is that self-checkout can be started easily. Simply empower surveillance cameras for retail stores using AI technology from the Azena Application Store.

At Amazon’s new store in Seattle customers check-in with a smartphone app to enter the store. Cameras and sensors track what is taken from the shelves. When they leave the store, the items are charged to their Amazon account. No wonder that this concept also ranks high on the technology agenda of major supermarket chains worldwide, as it promises to save resources and improve the shopping experience.

Can only major supermarket chains afford cashier-less stores? We say no, because technologies and infrastructure do not have to be as complex as Amazon's to implement self-checkout. The technology needed for autonomous checkout and payment already exists. Just as cameras in the Amazon store recognize which products the customers put in their carts, also cameras in smaller stores can help automate operations when equipped with AI Apps from the Azena Application Store

Enabling retail cameras with AI video analytics

With just a few clicks, a regular security camera can be turned into a smart sensor, which can recognize products and monitor self-service workflows. Azena provides you with the full infrastructure needed to enable in-store retail camera systems to analyze and control, rather than just “see”. 

Using smart video technology, items no longer have to be scanned to be added to digital shopping carts, which often confuses customers at self-service checkouts today.

Example: Smart retail cameras learning to detect fruit and loose goods


Source: Neurala Inc. (Brain Builder Checkout)

For cameras in supermarkets and grocery stores to monitor customer shopping carts, video technology must be able to identify individual products. This is not a difficult task for packaged products. Smart video analytics can learn to recognize products by packaging, shape and size without scanning barcodes. However, advanced machine learning can even be used to distinguish between different types of fruits and other loose goods.

Worth reading: 4 AI apps for security cameras to boost sales that you didn't know

Cameras in your store can simply be enabled to recognize products and monitor sales processes using AI Apps from the Azena Application Store. To implement a basic cashier-less system, various functionalities need to be integrated and connected step by step. However, we can only give a rough outline of this here. 

If you have any questions about how to start self-checkout using video analytics, please contact us or ask the integrator who installed your cameras.

Example of a simple retail ecosystem with connected video analytics


How do you get to cashier-less checkout step by step?

The aim is to build a flexible IoT ecosystem that allows components to be added and replaced flexibly and easily. The key to success is to think big and start small. We recommend developing the system step by step.

Step 1: Empower cameras with video analytics for object detection

Retail cameras running Azena's OS camera can be easily equipped with Apps for AI video analytics from our Application Store. With just a few clicks, apps for product recognition can be added and combined with other functions such as analyzing customer flow and heat-mapping if needed. Using Machine Learning, each camera can learn which products are included in the assortment. 

Step 2: Connect smart cameras with retail ecosystem

For cameras equipped with video analytics to become the "eyes" of sales and checkout, each device must be able to share data with other components of the retail ecosystem via Application Programming Interfaces (API). To minimize the volume of the data transmitted, video analysis is done in the devices (edge computing), so that only results are passed on to be processed in other systems such as digital shopping carts, inventory management, etc.

Step 3: Integrate mobile payment for cashier-less checkout

Like shopping cart management, payment can be widely automated using hardware and software solutions that are already in use at self-service checkouts in major supermarkets. Along with classic payment systems using cash or credit cards, mobile payment via smartphone app is on the rise. Which solution is best in each individual case mainly depends on customer preferences and the existing digital infrastructure.

Good to know: Implementing self-checkout can be easier if you already run an online store including the digital infrastructure (or even parts of it) as described above. Then, simply put, you “just” need to connect smart cameras for product recognition to start right away.

Azena enables you to equip your cameras not only with one function but let you combine different capabilities to cover as many business applications as possible.

What smart video technology could do for your business - more applications for inspiration:

  • Increase average dwell time in store: Analyze and control customer movement patterns using behavioral detection and heat mapping
  • Increase average basket size & average ticket size: Drive sales with customized in-store promotion based on customer demographics and behavior
  • Avoid gaps in stock on shelves: Keep shelves always filled and in order using video-based object recognition 
  • Avoid waste due to expired unpacked goods: Detect aging vegetables and fruits before they look odd using AI object recognition
  • Avoid waiting times and queues at checkouts: Monitor customer occupancy and flow in stores to detect queues forming early and take appropriate action
  • Comply with COVID regulations: Control customer occupancy and social distancing using automated entry control and smart in-store surveillance.
  • and much more...

Why wait? Take action now!

There are many ways to take aisle management to the next level and boost retail sales using smart video technology. Just have a look around our Application Store, you'll find the right application for your business. Get more out of your video technology now with just a few clicks!

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