Non-Stop Shopping: Startup’s AI Let’s Supermarkets Skip the Line

Eli Gorovici loves to take friends sailing on the Mediterranean. As the new pilot of Trigo, a Tel Aviv-based startup, he’s inviting the whole retail industry on a cruise to a future with AI.

“We aim to bring the e-commerce experience into the brick-and-mortar supermarket,” said Gorovici, who joined the company as its chief business officer in May.

The journey starts with the sort of shopping anyone who’s waited in a long checkout line has longed for.

You fill up your bags at the market and just walk out. Magically, the store knows what you bought, bills your account and sends you a digital receipt, all while preserving your privacy.

Trigo is building that experience and more. Its magic is an AI engine linked to cameras and a few weighted shelves for small items a shopper’s hand might completely cover.

With these sensors, Trigo builds a 3D model of the store. Neural networks recognize products customers put in their bags.

When shoppers leave, the system sends the grocer the tally and a number it randomly associated with them when they chose to swipe their smartphone as they entered the store. The grocer matches the number with a shopper’s account, charges it and sends off a digital bill.

And that’s just the start.

An Online Experience in the Aisles

Shoppers get the same personalized recommendation systems they’re used to seeing online.

“If I’m standing in front of pasta, I may see on my handset a related coupon or a nice Italian recipe tailored for me,” said Gorovici. “There’s so much you can do with data, it’s mind blowing.”

The system lets stores fine-tune their inventory management systems in real time. Typical shrinkage rates from shoplifting or human error could sink to nearly zero.

AI Turns Images into Insights

Making magic is hard work. Trigo’s system gathers a petabyte of video data a day for an average-size supermarket.

It uses as many as four neural networks to process that data at mind-melting rates of up to a few hundred frames per second. (By contrast, your TV displays high-definition movies at 60 fps.)

Trigo used a dataset of up to 500,000 2D product images to train its neural networks. In their daily operations, the system uses those models to run millions of inference tasks with help from NVIDIA TensorRT software.

The AI work requires plenty of processing muscle. A supermarket outside London testing the Trigo system uses servers in its back room with 40-50 NVIDIA RTX GPUs. To boost efficiency, Trigo plans to deliver edge servers using NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPUs and join the NVIDIA Metropolis ecosystem starting next year.

Trigo got early access to the T4 GPUs thanks to its participation in NVIDIA Inception, a program that gives AI startups traction with tools, expertise and go-to-market support. The program also aims to introduce Trigo to NVIDIA’s retail partners in Europe.

In 2021, Trigo aims to move some of the GPU processing to Google, Microsoft and other cloud services, keeping some latency- or privacy-sensitive uses inside the store. It’s the kind of distributed architecture businesses are just starting to adopt, thanks in part to edge computing systems such as NVIDIA’s EGX platform.

Big Supermarkets Plug into AI

Tesco, the largest grocer in the U.K., has plans to open its first market using Trigo’s system. “We’ve vetted the main players in the industry and Trigo is the best by a mile,” said Tesco CEO Dave Lewis.

Israel’s largest grocer, Shufersal, also is piloting Trigo’s system, as are other retailers around the world.

Trigo was founded in 2018 by brothers Michael and Daniel Gabay, leveraging tech and operational experience from their time in elite units of the Israeli military.

Seeking his next big opportunity in his field of video technology, Gorovici asked friends who were venture capitalists for advice. “They said Trigo was the future of retail,” Gorovici said.

Like sailing in the aqua-blue Mediterranean, AI in retail is a compelling opportunity.

“It’s a trillion-dollar market — grocery stores are among the biggest employers in the world. They are all being digitized, and selling more online now given the pandemic, so maybe this next stage of digital innovation for retail will now move even faster,” he said.

Revved Up Retail: Mercedes-Benz Consulting Optimizes Dealership Layout Using Modcam Store Analytics

Retailers are bringing the power of AI to their stores to better understand customer buying behavior and preferences and provide them a better experience.

AI startup Modcam, based in Sweden, uses smart sensors to provide detailed data on retail, showroom and office space traffic. These sensors, powered by NVIDIA Jetson Nano modules, perform real-time compute of AI algorithms using this data at the edge.

This allows retailers of all sorts to securely extract valuable insights regarding customer buying preferences.

Mercedes-Benz Consulting is working with the startup to hit the accelerator on the next generation of the automotive retail experience. Just outside its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, the company has constructed an experimental showroom equipped with Modcam sensors to test different layouts and new in-store technologies.

Since cars are an occasional, big-ticket purchase for most people, much of an automaker’s retail success relies on the showroom experience. As car companies invest in autonomous and intelligent driving technologies, they’re also looking to their storefronts to deliver an easy-to-navigate, optimized layout that enhances the shopping experience.

With the help of Modcam’s AI algorithms for edge computing, Mercedes-Benz Consulting has gained valuable insight into consumer behavior in both the show floor and service areas.

Smart Shopping

Modcam’s intelligent AI analyzes how people move in spaces. This helps retailers determine patterns, like whether a certain layout or signage is effective, and identifies customer interest in products that they may linger over.

It does so without collecting or storing private information. The deep neural networks running at the edge detect customers as people with non-identifying characteristics, and the smart sensors don’t store any of the images they analyze.

Modcam relies on the high-performance, energy-efficient Jetson Nano and is optimized using the NVIDIA Metropolis application framework to perform this real-time compute. This small, yet powerful computer lets Modcam run multiple deep neural networks in parallel for applications such as object detection, segmentation and tracking — all in an easy-to-use platform that runs in as little as 5 watts.

“Our previous generation of sensors and processors wasn’t powerful enough, so we upgraded to the NVIDIA Jetson Nano to deliver a 60x increase in neural network performance demanded by our next-generation systems,” said Andreas Nordgren, chief operating officer at Modcam.

And with this high-performance, intelligent edge solution, Modcam is helping retailers around the world deliver more optimized merchandising and a better shopping experience.

Modcam is a member of NVIDIA Inception, a virtual accelerator program that enables early-stage companies with fundamental tools, expertise and go-to-market support.

AI-Powered Luxury

With the concept store near its headquarters, Mercedes-Benz Consulting can test different floor layouts as well as touchscreen promotions and signage to display product information.

By outfitting the store with Modcam’s edge AI system, the automaker is able to measure the success of these layouts and campaigns, determining how much traffic flows to which models and how customers interact with different store configurations.

The luxury automaker can then extend these learnings to its dealerships around the world to optimize the customer buying and service experience.

And with the help of real-time edge computing, they can iterate quickly to consistently provide the best possible in-store experience.

The post Revved Up Retail: Mercedes-Benz Consulting Optimizes Dealership Layout Using Modcam Store Analytics appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.

Revved Up Retail: Mercedes-Benz Consulting Optimizes Dealership Layout Using Modcam Store Analytics

Retailers are bringing the power of AI to their stores to better understand customer buying behavior and preferences and provide them a better experience. AI startup Modcam, based in Sweden, uses smart sensors to provide detailed data on retail, showroom and office space traffic. These sensors, powered by NVIDIA Jetson Nano modules, perform real-time compute Read article >

The post Revved Up Retail: Mercedes-Benz Consulting Optimizes Dealership Layout Using Modcam Store Analytics appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.