Smaller tech companies with very specific capabilities to offer will likely get more traction in the market if they are partnered and integrated with more established technologies, so I like this partnership just announced between Sensormatic Solutions and Philly-based computer vision start-up VSBLTY.
Swiss-based Sensormatic is part of Johnson Controls, a global player in smart buildings, with Sensormatic focus on retail solutions that “offer retailers the ability to increase consumer engagement at the point-of-purchase and discover demographic insights driving those purchase decisions.”
“In today’s hyper-connected world, the most impactful customer experience is delivered by retailers who best understand and act on information about where, when, how and why engagement happens,” says Bjoern Petersen, Sensormatic’s President. “The partnership with VSBLTY brings a new level of insights to Sensormatic to help retailers make better business decisions. By combining our retail analytics with their data, retailers will now have the necessary insight to impact marketing and operational efficiencies that help provide better in-store customer experiences, increase associate productivity, and provide opportunities to increase revenue.”
Says the PR:
As a strategic partner, VSBLTY brings unique analytics and insight, providing complementary data streams to Sensormatic Solutions’ existing shopper insights portfolio. Integrating VSBLTY’s computer vision technology with Sensormatic IQ’s broad portfolio solutions provides retailers with enriched, actionable shopper demographic information to better understand the shopper engagement at the point of purchase.
Additionally, the partnership will help boost in-store sales through delivery of context-sensitive, targeted advertising and promotional video content throughout the store and on digital displays.
VSBLTY’s AI-driven computer vision capabilities are being rolled in to a pair of new products:
- Shopper Demographics: leverages camera and sensor technology with AI to accurately provide shopper demographics and sentiment analytics. The data can help retailers adapt the assortment and the point of sale activity, and evaluate how the marketing campaigns are performing to attract different shopper profiles into the stores.
- Shopper Views: uses edge and cloud-enabled AI techniques to bring brand messaging to life through targeted digital display content. When combined with a Content Management System (CMS), Shopper Views delivers custom-triggered content leveraging video, proximity-aware sensor technology and anonymized facial analytics to help enhance guest experiences while simultaneously revealing new analytics and actionable insights.
“Store as Media is a new, powerful advertising model for brands that now can inform and motivate consumers, using computer vision, right where and when purchase decisions are being made. Brands can use funds from their media budgets based on buying measurable impressions in-store that are far more valuable than traditional media vehicles,” says Jay Hutton, co-founder and CEO, VSBLTY. “The Store as Media model is the retail wave of the future. Our partnership with Sensormatic gives retailers a new revenue stream while increasing their understanding of customers’ shopping habits and demographic profiles.”
I’m a big believer in doing partnerships with well-established companies who have long-running customers and deep penetration into a vertical. It can work well when you have complementary technologies and APIs that make for relatively easy integrations that meet the needs of customers.
Big companies like Johnson Controls, which has more than 100,000 people globally, could likely hire the AI and data science people to develop their own computer vision capabilities – especially when there is open source stuff like Intel OpenVino that fast-tracks development. But partnering is easier and faster, and usually better, because the partner focuses on the technology, as opposed to it being an in-house R&D output.
For companies like VSBLTY, this gets them exposed to deals that would likely be much harder to get at as a small company with limited awareness in the retail tech ecosystem.