Intelligent crowd control technology helps smoothen shoppers’ experience


This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: Intelligent crowd control technology helps smoothen shoppers’ experience.

Two months ago Occupi by Ocucon didn’t exist. In that time, the retail technology company has worked to enable retailers to comply with social distancing guidelines, while keeping their productivity high, and shoppers’ queuing times as low as possible.

Occupi by Ocucon uses technology embedded in door mounted video cameras to coordinate and control the flow of shoppers both in and out of retail stores.

After securing business from nearly 1,500 stores in just three weeks, Ocucon is now surveying a market opportunity in the UK of billions*.  And the US, which is worth an estimated £5 billion, looks set to follow.

Earlier this month Aldi launched the new Occupi ‘traffic light’ system in stores across the UK and Ireland in the supermarket chain’s latest measure to keep customers and their staff as safe as possible during the ongoing pandemic.  Already another 150 retail multiples have contacted Ocucon in a desperate rush to place orders as crowds head to their newly re-opened stores this week. 

Far more than a people counting system, the technology is capable of marshalling shoppers into groups as it authorises and allows entry into the store, ensuring social distancing can be followed inside.  This means opening stores can accelerate the entry of shoppers in the morning before moving onto a one person out one person in strategy. The automatic shop doors will only open when the signage permits entry and the number of customers allowed in the store at any one time will be calculated based on the shop’s size and social distancing requirements – allowing people to remain two metres apart at all times.

The system can also control the number of shoppers in a store at any one time and its deep learning algorithm is constantly analysing so it knows how many people are in store at any given time which it compares with entry and departure numbers.  This results in unparalleled accuracy – something that can’t be achieved by basic in-out people counting products.

Occupi by Ocucon is working with ASSA ABLOY, the UK’s largest supplier of physical door controls (locks, door entry and closure systems) to the retail sector, and Videcon, the UK’s leading manufacturer of specialist CCTV camera systems and related technologies.

Gary Trotter, Ocucon’s Founder and CEO said: “We pioneered the development of Occupi by Ocucon by working together with Aldi and ASSA ABLOY.  I can’t think of a time when two entirely separate, but world leading organisations, would throw their collective weight behind the development of a concept like this in such a short time.”

He continued: “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.”

In the UK there are:  

  • *There are 192,000 VAT- registered retailers in the UK, which collectively operate 290,315 retail outlets. 

Source: Franchise Direct 2017 report

  • It is estimated that it currently costs retailers around £1000 per week to have staff marshals at the entrances of stories. Occupi can therefore offer retailers savings of up to £15.1 billion annually
  • Average cost of Occupi is £5,000 – meaning UK market value is worth £1.7 billion
  • Over 1 million retailers in the US – meaning US market value is worth £5 billion

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