British start-up’s spy in the supermarket aisle cuts thefts from Sainsbury’s outlets by half
ARTIFICIAL intelligence technology developed by a British start-up has been used by Sainsbury’s to halve the number of thefts in its stores.
London-headquartered ThirdEye has developed software which can run on a supermarket’s existing CCTV system in order to scan aisles for any signs of theft.
It works by analysing CCTV footage to detect customers who handle an unusually high number of items in aisles that typically experience the highest amount of theft.
The Grocer reported that the technology was being trialed in 20 Sainsbury’s branches, leading to a 50pc drop in the theft of spirits. The software detected 5,591 thefts in six months. ThirdEye declined to comment.
According to ThirdEye’s website, the company’s technology is able to analyse CCTV footage to detect whether thieves place items in their pocket or under their coat.
If a theft is detected, the software sends a short video clip to security guards who can intercept the suspect before they leave the store.
It is also able to detect checkout theft, where a customer deliberately fails to scan an item or items at a selfcheckout.
The start-up is now working on a social distancing detector which will help supermarkets to analyse whether shoppers are standing too close to each other during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The use of AI technology to reduce the amount of theft from supermarkets has risen in recent years.
American supermarket chain Walmart confirmed last year that it uses AI theft detection in more than 1,000 of its stores.
Amazon has also developed software that uses a network of cameras on the ceilings of supermarkets to monitor shoppers.
The technology, which Amazon calls “Just Walk Out”, is being licensed to other companies who want to emulate the experience of an Amazon Go store, where shoppers sign in with their Amazon account and cameras identify their purchases without them needing to go through a checkout.