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Modcam – vision sensors with onboard analytics for retail customer analysis

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MODCAM (Modcam – vision sensors with onboard analytics for retail customer analysis)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2017-06-30

By enabling large scale tracking of people, Modcam can help retailers and facility managers to optimize their operations.

The project included pilot installation review, a technology review to enhance the product, marketing and sales analysis to prepare for internationalization. The project objectives have been to obtain user feedback about platform and needs, to determine technological improvements and way forward for commercialization in new markets.

Competitor analysis
There are a number of different ways to track people in a physical environment, but current solutions are either too costly or have weak coverage and data quality. Wifi-tracking and iBeacon solutions do require visitors to opt-in and this impacts the capture rate significantly. Modcam solution does not require any user action and thereby full coverage and capture rate can be achieved. An optional technology is based on 3D sensors and the cost to deploy these at scale makes the ROI for large deployments difficult to justify.

Marketing and sales
Modcam has identified the key target segments as below:
- Retail: Large to midsize retail chains. Primary focus will be within fashion/apparel
- Facility management: Large corporates: Primary focus will be within finance/telecom sector

These customer segments will be approached through channel partnerships in US, UK and the Nordics. Modcam will use its sales resources to build these channels and support their sales activities. It will be key to provide the channels with technical support and pre-sales support to ensure that the value proposition is clearly understood and that the deployment and installation process can be executed without issues. In the area of facility management Modcam has identified 2 key partners in Europe that will be able to take the solution to the market; IBM in UK, Ireland and France and Opensensors in the UK. In the retail sector there are a number of specialist channel partners that have strong customer relationships. Modcam has partnered with Locarise from France, IMAS from Norway, Solteq from Finland and Nordic Retail Group from Sweden.
Modcam has during the project engaged in a number of pilot projects in both US, UK and Germany. These pilots have explore the technical feasibility, end user needs and total cost for the solution. The installations have been deployed in both office facilities and retailer environments. Key output has been data to quantify people flow to better optimize business operation. The key benefits for retailers include:
-optimize shop floor utilization
-improve merchandising effectiveness
-reduce shopper friction

For facility managers, the occupancy data will allow them to
- reduce rental costs
- save energy by HVAC and light adjustments
- reduce cost for cleaning based on utilization

Some of the key findings are from the pilot installations:
- for office occupancy the accuracy need to be at minimum 90%
- infrastructure on-site when is comes to availability of power is a key cost driver
- IT-department needs to be highly involved to ensure connectivity is fulfilling network specifications
- retailers need to review their overall KPIs and operational setup to fully benefit from shopper traffic data
- positioning of the sensors need to be carefully planned to ensure good quality data output

Modcam key improvement areas based on pilot installations:
- adjustment of the counting algorithm to ensure good accuracy in challenging mounting positions
- there need to be clear feedback from the sensors in case of connectivity issue to support technical root cause analysis
- mounting position and count accuracy need to be validated at each installation point

Considerations for scaling
Modcams growth strategy is based on channel partnerships. To ensure the scalability, the channel partners need to be able to monitor, validate and configure sensor installations. In order to support this, Modcam will expand the capabilities of a cloud based device management system: MOD.Connect. This will include sensor settings, installation configuration and user management.
Retailers are currently experiencing a huge shift in customer buying behaviors and the role of the physical store is changing. Rather than being a place for transaction and supply fulfillment, the physical stores are becoming a place for brands to provide a customer experience. To successfully manage this transformation in retailing, there is a need for tools to measure customer engagement and shopper behaviors. Modcam provides data for retailers to understand shopper behaviors in store and successfully improve their operational efficiency. In facility management there is a need to optimize office space utilization, as real estate is a major cost driver for large corporates. The transformation to open office space is a way to more effectively utilize the real estate, and in this transformation is important to constantly measure the degree of occupancy. Modcam can help to understand the level of occupancy by building, floor or seating area. Based on this data, the facility managers can adapt the office space and lower the vacancy costs.
In-store analytics