Chinese technology giant Tencent has partnered with Intel to develop artificial intelligence-enhanced cameras to provide insight into the retail environment.
The partnership will initially see two products from Tencent U-Lab and Intel: DeepGaze, an AI camera and YouBox, a way to improve existing camera systems with AI capabilities.
The DeepGaze AI camera analyzes how shoppers move through the store and the number of shoppers at different times of the day. Preprocessing and object detection are edge processed at the camera itself before the relevant data is transmitted to Tencent Cloud for further analysis.
At the same time, Youbox offers retailers an older camera system that can connect up to 16 older in-store cameras.
Simon Wu, general manager of Tencent U-Lab, explains the role of joint efforts in practice:
"Based on Intel Movidius Myriad VPU, YouTu cameras and boxes are synchronized in the cloud with the Intel Xeon scalable processor to provide a cost-effective and flexible solution for vertical industries including retail and construction."
Commenting on the partnership, Remi El-Ouazzane, Intel Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of AI Products Group, said:
"Tencent's new AI camera solution leverages the powerful Intel Movidius Myriad technology to enable deep neural networks to run directly on the camera, providing real-time and actionable data for a variety of businesses, including retail and smart buildings."
Our idea is that customer analytics supported by artificial intelligence can help retailers predict sales performance based on trends and real-time tracking of shopper activity and product turnover.
They can also automatically alert store employees to restocking without the need for time-consuming manual inventory management. This helps retailers personalize and improve the customer experience, and alert them if the product is in stock, where it is located, or if it needs to be shipped.
The Amazon Go store has demonstrated the potential of AI-enhanced cameras in a retail environment. Allow online retailers to bring their data-driven policies to the store and make them exempt.
Working with a Chinese company may be a smart move for Intel. Our own analysis points out that the country is a leader in other technology innovations in cashier stores and retail.
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Through partnerships, strategic shifts and retraining, physical retailers are forced to adapt to the data-driven world we are in today – most consumers put value first.