Hitachi-LG Data Storage (HLDS) has unveiled a new IoT operations platform designed for use in smart retail environments. The HL-DP platform relies on data collected with HLDS’s 3D LiDAR sensors, and can be used as the foundation of a cashier-less self-checkout system.
To that end, the LiDAR sensors can be deployed throughout a store to track the movement of people and goods. The system can read everything within a range of 10 meters, and is smart enough to determine when an item has been taken off a shelf. It can also figure out when that item has been put back on the shelf, or when a customer has carried it out of the store.
In the latter case, the system uses facial recognition to verify a shopper’s identity at the exit. Those shoppers can register their faces with a retailer in advance, and link their biometrics to their payment information to enable a fully seamless checkout experience that does not force them to stop and scan items and cards at a traditional checkout terminal.
To make the system easier to manage, Hitachi developed stitching technology that consolidates data from multiple LiDAR sensors in a way that makes it seem as if the information was gathered with one single sensor. The cloud-based HL-DP system, meanwhile, can also be used for customer analytics. The tech can count the number of people in a store, and figure out how much time they spend looking at a given item. That data can be viewed in numerical form, or converted into a heat map or a time series graph, and paired with biographic details like gender and age to provide merchants with more insights about their customers’ shopping habits.
In terms of utility, HL-DP comes with APIs that allow administrators to integrate the system with temperature, dust, and humidity sensors (in addition to the LiDAR sensors) as part of a broader smart retail management system. HLDS allows administrators to control and adjust various sensors remotely, while the self-diagnosis troubleshooting features are expected to reduce long-term maintenance costs.
Hitachi previewed the new system with a CO-URIBA demo at the Retail Tech JAPAN exposition at the beginning of March. The tech is now being rolled out for commercial pilots at convenience stores in Japan and South Korea. On that front, HLDS is itself a joint venture between Hitachi and LG Electronics.
ABI Research has predicted that more than 16 million LiDAR sensors will be deployed for smart city and security applications by 2030. In the meantime, CyberLink and NTT DATA used facial recognition technology at a similar unstaffed concept store back in 2020.