Biometrics power self-checkout technologies deployed by NtechLab, LG

Deep learning and artificial intelligence company NtechLab has partnered with NCR Russia to work on facial recognition-powered self-checkouts.

Spotted by RTIH, the collaboration will see the integration of NtechLab’s biometric and video analytics software within NCR’s camera-equipped self-service kiosks.

The technology will enable customers to submit their face biometrics information using a dedicated app, then pay without the need for cards or cash, with the transactions charged directly to a customer’s registered bank account.

“The synergy of NCR experience with global retail best practices and NtechLab’s unique expertise in facial recognition will qualitatively change the self-service shopping experience,” comments Alexander Dmitriev, regional sales director at NCR.

“[This], in turn, will have a positive effect on the use of such systems and, ultimately, on retail business performance.”

According to NtechLab, the system can be configured not to store user biometric data but only reports. It is yet unclear at the time of writing whether NtechLab and NCR intend to use this feature or not.

The facial recognition-enabled kiosks are also hoped to aid the partners in addressing the growing demand for video analytics from private companies.

“The number of requests we have received from businesses since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased by 1,500 percent in 2021 compared to 2020,” explains NtechLab Chief Product Officer Denis Grishin.

“Self-service terminals are certainly a new growth point for video analytics companies, mainly in the retail sector,” he adds.

LG and BGF support unmanned smart stores in South Korea

LG Electronics has announced the opening of ten additional unmanned smart stores in South Korea, bringing the total to 19. These electronic appliances stores will be unmanned from 8:30 p.m. to midnight. LG Electronics says it intends to open 11 more unmanned shops by June 2022.

LG Uplus, a mobile network, has also opened an unmanned store in Seoul. Customers use QR codes or a mobile app with fingerprint biometrics to authenticate their purchases.

According to Aju Business Daily, the company is ramping up contactless efforts to limit the spread of new variants of COVID.

The South Korean publication has also recently reported the establishment of an additional unmanned smart store in the country by the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA). The store is a version of the CU convenience store franchise supported by BGF Retail. CU convenience stores began an expansion of facial recognition from payments to full-store tracking in late-2020.

Shopping data within these stores (including video feeds) will be collected and shared with domestic security companies with the aim of aiding them to develop new smart store-related security technologies when it becomes operational in February 2022.

The project follows another attempt by the South Korean government to funnel data to private companies for AI technology development, but surreptitiously, which predictably exploded into a scandal.

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