CyberLink and NTT DATA teamed up to conduct a smart retail pilot that could allow more stores to open (and reopen) in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pilot involved an unstaffed Tokyu Hands concept store in Tokyo’s Shibuya district, and leveraged CyberLink’s FaceMe facial recognition tech in conjunction with NTT DATA’s voice-to-text solution to deliver better customer service in a remote environment.
While there were no employees on site, sales consultants used virtual avatars to communicate with patrons from a separate Shinjuku office. The consultants were able to provide shoppers with recommendations about various brands, and deliver something closer to a more traditional shopping experience. The remote setup would theoretically allow staff to cover multiple stores from one central location, although that was obviously not necessary for the one-store pilot.
The concept store itself was filled with interactive displays to facilitate contactless shopping. FaceMe was also used to gauge the ages, genders, and emotional responses of people in the store, generating data that can be analyzed to further refine the customer experience and make the business itself more profitable.
The ultimate goal is to move towards a touchless (and cashier-less) retail ecosystem. However, the two companies did not provide any information about if and how payments were handled in the store.
CyberLink, of course, is well known for providing facial recognition and analytics technology for retail outlets. The company recently licensed the FaceMe engine to the surveillance specialist LILIN, which will integrate the platform into its NAV Facial Recognition Recorder. ASA Computers will similarly be integrating FaceMe into its FR-1 appliance for commercial venues.
In the meantime, CyberLink has taken other steps to address COVID-19. The company updated its engine to improve its performance with people who are wearing masks, and added thermal detection capabilities to help watch for people who may be infected with the coronavirus.
August 7, 2020 – by Eric Weiss