IP Video Surveillance

Smart Retail: Integrating AI into Physical Security and Safety Systems

April 27, 2023

AI-powered smart devices are being deployed in nearly every industry, and physical retail stores are no exception. The convergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI is paving the way for a more personalized, faster, and safer shopping experience.

The global smart retail market is expected to have a compounding annual growth rate of 22.8% over the next five years. This is transforming most aspects of the brick-and-mortar retail industry, from increasing supply chain transparency to improving the safety and efficiency of in-store operations.

In this post, we’ll cover the rise of smart retail and some of the ways AI is currently being used in the retail industry. We’ll also discuss the importance of physical security for retailers and how AI can improve safety and security.

What is Smart Retail?

Smart retail is the combination of traditional shopping in physical stores with emerging technologies like AI and edge devices to improve customer experiences and business operations. This started with automated checkouts and intelligent point-of-sale systems, but has since expanded to many other areas of physical retail.

Here are some use cases for AI in the retail industry:

  • Optimization: Using sensor data to track foot traffic, predict customer behavior, and optimize shopping experiences.
  • Transparency: Automating inventory tracking based on sensors, video cameras, or RFID tags to bring transparency to supply chain management.
  • Personalization: Using bluetooth beacons that detect when consumers are in the vicinity and sending personalized mobile push notifications about special events, discounts, and more.
  • Efficiency: Deploying devices that track assets outside of the supply chain like shopping carts and baskets to improve retail store management.

Physical Security and Smart Retail

Besides optimizing shopping experiences and store operations, AI and analytics can improve public safety and protect assets for retailers. That’s because computer vision and machine learning applications can analyze data collected by IoT devices to uncover insights that might not have been possible with human security personnel alone.

For example, AI can be integrated with video management systems (VMS) and access control systems to prevent theft in real time. The surveillance system can use computer vision to analyze video feeds and detect potential shoplifters, and then connect to an intelligent access control system to stop the perpetrator by locking certain exit points.

In addition to preventing theft, retail stores can deploy edge AI cameras to detect spills or other potential hazards to prevent accidents like slips and falls. Smart surveillance systems can immediately notify maintenance staff so that they can remove the hazard, which would lead to much safer shopping experiences and less legal liability for retailers.

Integrating AI into Physical Security Systems with MBX

While demand is increasing for smart physical security devices, there are also obstacles that technology developers face. Since GPU and CPU technologies are evolving so fast, it’s hard for many software vendors to seamlessly integrate their applications with the right physical hardware. These hardware complexities also make it challenging to deliver the simple plug-and-play solutions that many retailers have come to expect.

MBX Systems is a hardware specialist with experience in designing, manufacturing, and deploying edge devices that are optimized for AI-powered applications. We have over 50 predesigned reference platforms for physical security devices that are researched, tested, validated, and standardized for optimal performance. Besides our turnkey security platforms, we also have an in-house engineering team that can design different architectures to meet other smart devices requirements.

Our modular hardware platform MBX Kori — which is frequently used with applications for fall detection in a smart hospital setting — can also be used to prevent theft and accidents in retail stores. This mobile computer vision platform can work with a variety of applications and be deployed near entry points to monitor foot traffic for weapons, masks, or other threats. It can also be deployed to inventory rooms or other high-risk areas with applications to protect assets from theft. This makes MBX Kori ideal for computer vision solutions targeting smart retail, smart hospitals, smart cities, and many other industries.

In short, MBX’s capabilities allow software companies to offload their hardware program and focus on developing innovative physical security and AI applications. Learn more about integrating AI into physical security systems with MBX: Physical Security in Smart Cities.

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