Technology 2 min read

Startup Develops AI-Powered Cameras to Spot Potential Shoplifters

Vaak, a Japanese startup, has developed AI-powered cameras that can detect when a person is likely to shoplift or steal an item from a store.

Live feeds from Vaak's AI-powered cameras | Bloomberg

Live feeds from Vaak's AI-powered cameras | Bloomberg

A convenience store in Yokohama, Japan is using AI-powered cameras to spot and prevent people from shoplifting. According to reports, the artificial intelligence software behind the smart cameras was developed by the Japanese AI startup Vaak.

The cameras, powered by machine learning algorithms, analyze live footage of customers within the store. The AI software determines potential shoplifters by looking at unusual behaviors like restlessness, fidgeting, and other suspicious body language.

According to Vaak, their goal is to prevent suspected individuals from committing theft by letting store staff approach them. The company believes that asking the targets for help could stop them from shoplifting.

Ryo Tanaka, CEO of Vaak, said in an interview:

“I thought then, ‘Ah, at last! We took an important step closer to a society where crime can be prevented with AI.”

AI-Powered Cameras

Last 2017, Tyco Retail Solutions reported that shoplifting had cost the retail industry about $34 billion USD in lost sales worldwide. Gartner Inc. predicted that retailers would invest around $200 billion in new technologies to fight shoplifting this year.

Thomas O’Connor, a retail analyst at Gartner, said:

“If we go into many retailers whether in the U.S. or U.K., there are very often going to be CCTV cameras or some form of cameras within the store operation. That’s being leveraged by linking it to an analytics tool, which can then do the actual analysis in a more efficient and effective way.”

Since security is now among the key priorities of retailers, AI software makers like Vaak will not to disclose the names of companies using their technology. While it’s not confirmed, it is now safe to assume that many retail companies in Japan alone have deployed AI-powered cameras and security devices in their stores.

Tanaka added:

“We’re still just discovering all the market potential. We want to keep expanding the scope of the company.”

Read More: AI Battle Royale To Determine The Future Of AI Security

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    Dana Brubeck March 06 at 1:23 pm GMT

    I don’t understand why people try to find new-age ways to solve basic problems. Shoplifting is a symptom rather than a cause, we need to focus on people caring more about businesses and morality rather than watching them with robots.

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      Laura Fischer March 06 at 1:33 pm GMT

      I don’t think you’re right. People are always going to steal, especially teenagers who don’t know any better. Why not make it easier for the people working in the store to avoid getting fired just because some kid stole something? If AI can help people live easier, then I think we should be using it as much as we can.

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