|Vaak, a Japanese tech start-up has developed an artificial intelligent camera software that is able to pick-out potential shoplifters. It is able to study and assess shoppers’ body-language from security camera footage such as restlessness, fidgeting and other suspicious movements.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is known to be useful in many industries in helping to improve the way of life of many, and this newly discovered ability of apprehending potential shoplifters is an applaudable additional feature. Algorithms are able to analyse security-camera footage and alert staff about a potential thief on the premise through a smartphone app. The goal of this is prevention; based on the premise that if a potential thief is approached and asked if he or she needs help, chances are that the act of stealing will be stalled or aborted.
Vaak was in the news last year as one of its products was able to help apprehend a shoplifter at a convenience store in Yokohama. The company had its software set-up in the shop for testing which helped to pick up a previous undetected case of shoplifting and the culprit was arrested a few days later.
A report by Tyco Retail Solutions says that the global retail industry lost as much as 34 billion U.S Dollars to shoplifting in 2017 alone. According to Gartner Inc, retailers are projected to invest about 200 Billion Dollars in new technology this year, and it will only make sense that many of them equip their premises with AI cameras to help curb shoplifting losses.
“If we go into may retailers whether in the US or UK, there are very often going to be CCTV cameras or some form of cameras within the store operation,” says Thomas O’Connor, a retail analyst at Gartner. “That’s being leveraged by linking it to analytics tool, which can then do the actual analysis in a more efficient and effective way,” he adds.
Most retailers using Vaak’s AI cameras have asked the company not to disclose this because of the security-sensitiveness involved – it is safe for shoppers to only assume.