Businesses and stores are adding AI to security cameras for social distancing and mask-wearing compliance

📷 Pepper Construction is using Startup SmartVid.io to analyze worksite images for Oracle Industries Innovation Lab in Deerfield, Illinois.

Existing security cameras at retail stores and workplaces are being equipped with articifial intelligence to enforce measures intendded to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Reuters reports, based on interviews with 16 different machine vision software firms and a number of businesses that are now their clients.

“Reuters spoke with 16 video analytics companies, many of them startups with a few million dollars in annual revenue, that have added offerings because of the coronavirus.”

From Reuters:

“The last thing we want is for the governor to shut all our projects down because no one is behaving,” said Jen Suerth, vice president at Chicago-based Pepper Construction, which introduced software from SmartVid.io this month to detect workers grouping at an Oracle Corp project in Deerfield, Illinois.

Samarth Diamond plans to deploy AI from Glimpse Analytics as soon as its polishing factory re-opens in Gujarat, India, while two Michigan shopping centers owned by RPT Realty will have distancing tracking from RE Insight in two weeks.

Buyers expect the technology will work because they already have used similar tools to profile shoppers entering stores and find helmet scofflaws on construction sites.

But some technology consultants that advise retailers and office landlords have cautioned clients against introducing new technology at a chaotic time and investing in tools that may be needed only for a period of months. Privacy activists concerned about increasingly detailed tracking of people also are urging businesses to limit use of the AI to the pandemic.

“The question becomes whether the tech remains after the public health problem goes away, and that is the real privacy fear,” said Al Gidari, a privacy expert at Stanford Law School. “Video in the store today to ensure social distancing remains to identify shoplifters tomorrow.”

Read the full report here at Reuters:

Companies bet on AI cameras to track social distancing, limit liability

[April 27, 2020, reporting by Paresh Dave]

[via techmeme]