Extract from Mainstream Media
Biometric video surveillance in our supermarkets
In order to detect theft, Carrefour, Monoprix, Super U and Franprix [and Intermarché] are experimenting with biometric analysis software to monitor our every move in their stores.
The health crisis had already unleashed the desire of private companies for biometric surveillance: thermal cameras at company entrances, detection of physical distances in offices, tracking of eye movements for remote university exams… Several French companies are now proposing to automatically detect thefts in stores “in real time” thanks to biometric analysis software directly connected to the cameras already present in the stores [behavior detection software that then sends an immediate alert to the security guard’s smartphone with a copy of the images].
While the idea of automatically detecting theft in stores has already been tested in Japan, several French companies have not hesitated to develop their own software:
“Anaveo”, a company of 320 people with a turnover of 70 million euros works in video surveillance for mass retail. Its “SuspectTracker” software promises to capture the flow of images from the cameras to analyze “suspicious behavior”, for example “gestures towards a stroller, backpack, trouser or jacket pocket”. Their presentation videos mention in passing that theft detection feeds into a database to further improve the algorithm.
“Oxania, a start-up founded in 2019, has produced a “Retail Solutions” software that would be able to “recognize gestures associated with theft in real time, detect behaviors, dangerous situations, customer journey and much more”. The video presentation calmly assumes to make a biometric analysis of the behaviors of people present in the store (body heat, gestures, body …).
And above all “Veesion”, a Parisian start-up that sells a “gesture recognition” product with “an algorithm that has several bricks that work together and can tell at any time if there has been a gesture that can be associated with shoplifting or not. There is a brick that locates the human, another that locates the limbs on this human body, another that locates the objects of interest, the shopping cart, a purse, a shopping cart, the shelf itself, the items that come off the shelf. And these bricks work together to give a probability of theft at each moment. Then, the store employees have a mobile app that receives the videos as soon as a suspicious gesture has been spotted”, explains Benoit Koenig, director of the company Veesion. (France Bleu, August 19, 2020). As a bonus, Veesion proposes to analyze “your flight history and [provide] personalized recommendations”.
Perhaps the most impressive thing is to look at the customer list of the above companies and realize that their deployment is already well underway.
Veesion says it has more than 120 stores in France, and the map on the site suggests many more. In the “Success Stories” tab of their site, there are a few examples highlighted, among a much larger set that we still struggle to measure: Monoprix (product installed in July 2019 in a store in Paris on 22 cameras), Franprix (3 stores in Paris on 48 cameras in 2019), Super U Express (1 store in Paris with 13 cameras in 2019), Bio c’ Bon (4 sites in Paris). (+ Monoprix du Polygone in Montpellier or Monoprix Lafayette in Paris)
The company Anaveo is not left behind even if it is difficult to guess the exact number of their customers. We know at least that its deployment has already started, as testified by the testimonies of a Carrefour Market in Bourges which announces having bought 11 licenses of the software for its 32 cameras and that of an Intermarché in Artenay.No embarrassment neither at the software designers nor in the large-scale distribution. On the contrary, as the company Anaveo clearly states, the objective of the deployment of this biometric surveillance is to fight against the “invisible markdown” (understand, shoplifting), it is to “help the distribution sector to protect its turnover”.
Worse, for the creator of Veesion, the social distress created by the recent pandemic will cause social unrest, forcing retailers “to invest more in solutions to protect themselves”. His company will have to be, according to him, “up to the new demands of physical retail”, that is to say, to follow him, to develop the tools of Technopolice to protect the large-scale distribution of the poor populations driven to steal by the social crisis.
Note: in an online promotional video of the Veesion software installed at Monoprix, one can have a glimpse of the quality of the images detected by the camera and then instantly sent to the guard’s smartphone with several options: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oj-d_FX1ot4&t=8s]
From: Sans Nom