Intelligent shelves, automated replenishment processes, autonomous stores, maintaining safety distances, people counting - these are all applications that can be realized using printed electronics.
Printed Sensors for Retail
As many other industries, the retail sector is in the midst of an upheaval. How can costs be reduced? Which processes can be automated or digitalized? How can I offer customers a more comprehensive shopping experience. But also: How can I secure my goods and how can I guarantee the safety of my customers?
Why Printed Sensors Provide the Leading Edge
In the retail sector, the advantages of printed pressure sensors are particularly apparent: large areas can be easily equipped and at low cost to provide feedback on current inventory levels, store occupancy rate or compliance with distance regulations. Unfortunately, the latter has gained high relevance over the last months, and will remain relevant in the future.
What Applications In Retail Are Conceivable?
1. Social Distancing and People Counting
Printed sensor foils are suitable for equipping large areas of floor with pressure sensors. Once rolled out, the number of people in a store can be determined using artificial intelligence. Apart from that, the mat can digitally record the length of queues at the cash registers or indicate that the required distance to the next customer is not maintained by means of a clear traffic light signal, thus contributing to a greater security against an infection ("social distancing"). Besides an easy installation, these solutions are characterized by one essential point: The privacy of each customer is respected. In a natural manner, the pressure sensor foil performs all measurements in a completely anonymously manner - the customer feels safe and does not get the feeling of being observed.
2. Intelligent Shelves and Autonomous Shops
Apart from the floor, even complete shelves can be equipped with sensor foils. Inventories can thus be automatically recorded and optimally replenished, whether for beverage crates, bread rolls or fruit. Intelligent shelves will become particularly relevant in connection with autonomous stores. Here, weight detection and the possibility to localize objects and identify them based on their shape (artificial intelligence, machine learning) offers a strong complementary method to camera detection, which, for example, reaches its limits in case of visual obscuration.
3. Advertisement and Analysis
Especially for display shelves, this function is just as important: When is which product purchased? Is one of the products running low and needs to be refilled? In addition, the data also helps to understand the customer's buying behavior. The previously mentioned pressure sensors in the floor allow, for example, to track the customer's route - completely anonymously, of course.
4. Anti-Theft Protection
Moreover, pressure sensor foils can also be used regarding safety aspects. Every movement on the floor is immediately registered, similar to a motion detector. Further, pressure sensors placed underneath valuable goods can immediately raise the alarm if the pressure distribution changes - when items are stolen.