Using image analytics to monitor retail store shelves
Using image analytics to monitor the contents and status of retail store shelves is an emerging trend with increasing business importance. Detecting and identifying multiple objects on store shelves involves a number of technical challenges. The particular nature of product package design, the arrangement of products on shelves, and the requirement to operate in unconstrained environments are just a few of the issues that must be addressed. We explain how we addressed these challenges in a system for monitoring planogram compliance, developed as part of a project with Tesco, a large multinational retailer. The new system offers store personnel an instant view of shelf status and a list of action items for restocking shelves. The core of the system is based on its ability to achieve high rates of product recognition, despite the very small visual differences between some products. This paper covers how state-of-the-art methods for object detection behave when applied to this problem. We also describe the innovative aspects of our implementation for size-scale-invariant product recognition and fine-grained classification.