SMARTRetail “Enhancing and Improving Customer Experience and Services in Supermarkets via SMART Artificial Intelligence Powered Systems”, owner Softrust Vision Analytics, partner University “Politehnica” of Bucharest (led by AI Multimedia Lab), funded by UEFISCDI, Industry Transfer Axis (budget ~340k Euro, 2020-2022).
With the rapidly growing number of supermarkets and the diversification of the available products, their management became more and more complex due to the growing number of tasks that require human expertise, e.g., product monitoring, stock, and events analysis. Therefore, automatization solutions are vital for improving the quality of services and the consumer experience. The current existing national and international systems require the usage of CCTV technology, whose progress, e.g., unlimited number of video cameras, 4k resolution, led, not to a simplification, but to new technological challenges, i.e., the vast information that requires manual analysis, the impossibility of real-time analysis on large time intervals, the difficulty of retrieving the relevant information from the immense volume of data. The SMARTRetail project responds to the challenges through an integrated solution, that can be attached to existing CCTV systems, without the need to modify it, allowing the automatization via Artificial Intelligence techniques for these retail-specific problems. The proposed solutions are based on advanced deep neural network techniques that provided state-of-the-art results in current machine learning problems. SMARTRetail allows the automatic detection of degraded products on shelves that need to be replaced, automatic detection of empty shelves, and real-time monitorization of fraudulent behavior to counteract the possibility of theft and damage to the products. Innovation, integration, and automation is required to reinvent the way retailers manage their resources. Recent surveys show that only 3% of retailers implemented AI solutions, while 45% had in their strategy the deployment of such solutions during the 2018-2021 period, being a constantly expanding market. The outcome of the project will be the integration of the solution in the KVision VMS system commercialized by the coordinator and its validation in the supermarket.