June 22, 2020 @ 13:59 by Richard Dawson
A North East technology company is providing a solution to enable retailers to coordinate and control the flow of shoppers in and out of retail stores with ease.
Ocucon, which has offices in Newcastle, is helping retailers comply with social distancing guidelines through its intelligent crowd control technology.
The new Occupi ‘traffic light’ system by Ocucon is capable of marshalling shoppers into groups as it authorises and allows entry into the store.
More than just a people counting system, Occupi connects to automatic shop doors and will only allow entry when the limit on customers has not been reached.
The system uses deep learning algorithms to analyse how many people are in a store at any given time and compares this with entry and departure numbers for accuracy.
Earlier this month, supermarket chain Aldi became the first major retailer to use the technology, launching the Occupi system in stores across the UK and Ireland to keep customers and staff safe during the pandemic.
Ocucon has since been contacted by more than 150 retailers who are rushing to place orders and reopen their stores en masse.
It is thought that Ocucon could now be surveying a market opportunity worth billions of pounds with its Occupi system.
The company is working with door controls supplier, ASSA ABLOY, and specialist CCTV camera systems manufacturer, Videcon, on the Occupi system.
Gary Trotter, Ocucon’s founder and CEO, said: “We pioneered the development of Occupi by working together with Aldi and ASSA ABLOY.
“I can’t think of a time when two entirely separate organisations would throw their collective weight behind the development of a concept like this in such a short time.
“We are in the midst of an ongoing pandemic and there was an incredible spirit of collaboration and innovation in the way everyone came together.
“We were lucky to have a client in Aldi who asked us for help and lucky to have the technological expertise and partners to help us deliver what I believe is a truly ground-breaking solution for retailers.”
The company has created 50 jobs already in the North East and expects that figure to double again in the next three months.
Gary added: “It’s great to be able to bring significant investment to the North East, our primary goal has always been helping retailers in these challenging times to help them reduce costs and improve safety for employees and customers.
“We’re thrilled by the enthusiasm with which retailers have embraced our solution and their commitment to embracing innovation and the technology.
“That’s why we see our investment in jobs and research as essential to help all businesses get up and running again quickly and safely.”