In the digital versus brick & mortar battle, one advantage that the former had to date was the ease of getting minute analytics for every front. Not only could digital providers track the number of customers, but their shopping patterns, behavioural statistics and a lot more. Arush Kakkar and Vivek Singh thought of bridging this gap with a combination of artificial intelligence and video analytics and came up with Corseco Technologies.
Launched in June 2016, the B2B company is based out of London and Delhi and aims to provide business intelligence to store owners. The platform utilises footage from already installed CCTV cameras at retail stores or warehouses, which means no separate hardware is needed.
“We have an AI-based system that can track a lot of objects via CCTV. We can track any object that the business would require to provide some kind of intelligence and thereby help in strategy building and decision making,” said Arush.
360-Degree Benefits To Retailers
Ease of use: As no extra hardware is required to install the system, video analytics can be easily run on the security system. The footage then goes to the backend, data gets processed and is provided to the retailer in dashboard form in real-time.
This reduces the time required to manually analyse videos and snapshots, while building historical data for future references. Also, as everything is available on the retailer’s system, there lies no threat of data breach and data privacy is maintained.
Decision making: Retailers can use this data to retrieve analytics such as object tracking, license plate recognition, dwell and loitering, people counting. They can also access demographics like age and gender, and product engagement analysis across various factors.
A similar analysis can be done for warehouses based on the number of trucks entering or exiting the warehouse.
As explained by Vivek, whenever a truck comes a photo is taken by the CCTV, and the license plate is stored in a database. This helps in identifying the number of entries for a particular truck, and keep a check on the overall frequency of arrival and departure for each truck. Apart from these, the total count of trucks on a per day/per week basis, the number of packages loaded/unloaded, the number of people engaged, etc., can also be identified.
This helps retailers to understand customer priorities on the basis of time, product, gender, and age, and also taking real-time decisions on workforce alignment, theft checks, and more.
Strategy Building: Data analytics can be further utilised to build strategies around store layout, maximum selling points and inventory management. For instance, a product placed in the last corner of the store attracts 20 people and 10 people buy it. However, a product in the front attracts 50 people but only 10 buy it.
“This analysis on a simple dashboard interface can help retailers easily identify people hotspots/coldspots (where people visit in the store) and gaze tracking (finding out which products people are looking at). The store layout can thus be changed on the basis of customer preference,” said Arush. This further helps retailers in increasing ROI by taking better marketing and merchandising decisions.
Also, Corseco provides an API for visual search to developers, which ecommerce retailers or those opting for omni-channel strategy can integrate within their mobile app.
Competition, Challenges, And Road Ahead
As claimed by the founders, at present they have no competitor in the Indian video analytics markets, but there are a few similar startups in Israel, Russia and US.
San Francisco-based 3VR is one such startup providing similar services to businesses and retailers. 3VR video surveillance solutions offer analytics such as facial surveillance, advanced object tracking, license plate recognition, dwell and Loitering, people counting, queue management analysis, and demographics.
When asked about the strategy to deal with such competition, Arush said
“A lot of introspection is given to the accuracy of our solutions and the current industrial adoption. We are absorbing video analytics parallely across different industry segments and validating how visual data can be useful accordingly. We are the initial movers in the space and our products are easily understandable for the retail owners.”
The duo initially found the quality of CCTV footage received a challenge as it was not so easy to analyse things accurately. But the systems are now modified such that they can grab information from any camera if it was installed seven-eight years ago.
Corseco Technologies recently grabbed an undisclosed amount of funding from London-based Sanjay Choudhari, who is looking to invest further in the Indian startup ecosystem. One of their future plans is to improve their tech offering such that it allows for easier integration and maintenance. Another aim is to make it very modular so that the customers can pick and choose whatever solutions they want.
The team of 12 also wants to expand their suite of products so that it can be easily used in the field of robotics, drones, security, and medical fields.
“The main target for the next few months would be to acquire big retailers as our clients; to provide business intelligence to them. We are also aggressively expanding in the international market establishing clients in Israel, UAE, United Kingdom and India,” said Vivek.
The video analytics market size is estimated to grow from $1.69 Bn in 2016 to $4.23 Bn by 2021, at an estimated CAGR of 20.2%. Furthermore, according to a Seagate Surveillance Report 2016, more than 53% people in 2016 use video data to improve operational efficiency.
Artificial intelligence is thus giving in-depth insights across the value chain of industrial operations, including procurement, supply chain, sales, and store management. This will also allow companies like Corseco, 3VR and others to simultaneously bridge the existing technological gaps in online and offline retail.