Xovis: Shops will soon have the same capability to track customers in-store as they do online
THE ability to count, track and analyse the habits of shoppers in-store will soon be able to match the capabilities shops have online, according to Christian Studer, CPO and co-founder of Xovis.
The Swiss-based company is at the forefront of new technology for counting and tracking people movement anonymously via a sophisticated data privacy concept, predominantly in airports, but increasingly in other sectors.
In an interview with People Movement Online, Christian said that emerging technologies are helping businesses evermore with human behaviour, habits and waiting times, thus allowing business to improve their processes and performance.
Founded in 2008, Xovis employs 3D sensors and software solutions to count and track passengers at airports, measure various KPIs and, among other things, help airports reduce waiting times – which in turn helps passengers spend more money as they feel more relaxed.
“Passenger waiting is one of the main causes of dissatisfaction amongst customers,” he said. “In studies, customers perceive themselves to be waiting for around the twice the time that they in fact do.
“This can be a source of stress and anxiety for passengers, and of course a stress-free passenger has more time and inclination to avail themselves of the retail opportunities that are so important to the commercial operation of airports.
“Our software not only tracks passenger movement but also provides a comprehensive data base. Airport operators harness the gathered data for in-depth analytics, comparing for example performance on a Monday with the Monday the week before, and take measures to constantly improve.”
“That way our system is the basis for recommended action based on history and what is current, such as flight schedules.”
With improving technologies, he said airports will soon be able to analyse the consequences of actions it will take in the close future.
Christian said: “You can ask: What does it mean from business process if I open a new line? What if I open one in the next half an hour, what about in the next two hours? What will be the effect? It’s really important for them to know this level of detail on the operational side.”
It isn’t only in its 45 international airports where its technology is being put to use. Xovis, based near Bern, Switzerland, is overseeing a rapidly expanding retail division, where its technology claims to provide unmatched precision in people counting and large area person tracking as basis for comprehensive in-store analytics.
Unlike many companies that rely on signal emitting technology, which is dependent on a technology beyond the control of the airport or retail space to function, it uses 3D stereo vision sensors , which capture and analyse the images directly on the sensor. There is a Xovis 3D sensor model that includes WiFi/ Bluetooth functionalities as an add-on
“This gives us a confidence that our products will not be eclipsed by a radical change in mobile technology” Christian said. “We set great store on the reliability of our technology.” says Studer. “We have been developing our unique sensor and software solutions successfully for a decade now. Our sensor technology has been the key to this.
“We measure, we do not guess. We measure everyone, and with technology that has only wifi or other signals you don’t have the capability to measure absolutely everybody so there will always be an element of guessing the missing gap in your data.”
Christian said with the developments in Artifical Intelligence, companies will be able to track shoppers’ habits in-store to the same level of detail they currently can online.
He said: “With our standards we measure flow, direction, height, and with the development in technology we will be able to measure more: what people are doing, if they are grabbing something, carrying kid, having a trolley, all these things are coming possible with AI technology. You learn what’s going on around the person and around the person, which direction they are looking.- and still incorporating the sophisticated data privacy concept to count, track and analyse people movements anonymously.
“You can tell average wait, male or female percentage, remaining time, all of this type of information will be available in the future which will give a lot of information to retailers.
“In their web shop they know all the interesting stuff, who you are, how old you are, what you looked at, what you bought; all that is coming to the physical shop.”
With growth comes new challenges, Xovis opened their first US office in Boston earlier this year which heralds a further expansion into the lucrative US market.
“It is the natural expansion” says Studer. “These are technologies which will become increasingly important in the future, as operators seek to maximise the experience of their customers and we are really well placed to provide the technology to help them achieve this – Here’s to the next decade.