Technology developed to improve the performance of sports teams is to be used to help retailers cut theft and persuade customers to spend more.
The system will let retailers use their existing infrastructure of cameras along with innovations such as radio frequency identity tags to build up a better picture of their customers.
The retail tracking system is based on technology initially developed by Accenture, called Virtual Sports Centre. It processes digital content, such as video of a football game, to create a virtual double which can then be analysed to generate statistics (the total number of passes, for example) and improve tactics.
Retailers are very interested in shopping behaviour - such as what people pick up and put back again, explained Patrice Fauvet of the Accenture technology labs in France.
The system will allow real-time tracking of events in stores, with the data stored in a central repository.
For example, the system could be used to record and analyse how long shoppers spend looking at items, the quality of interaction with staff, and how many times an item is removed from the shelf.
Currently, retailers do attempt to track behaviour but much of it is done manually, Fauvet said.
"There are lots of things they do manually. Retailers pay companies to put people in stores to observe their customers."
Fauvet added that retailers are interested in a system which can reuse the infrastructure they have in place already, as well as linking to their back end systems. "They are looking with interest at linking with the existing retail systems that they have."
He said Accenture is investigating a pilot of the technology, and has had interest from UK retailers. He said the platform would be ready for commercial use by the end of July.
The technology could also be applied to other sectors, such as pharmaceuticals and healthcare, according to Accenture.
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