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Pivot and Persist: Analytics startup uses AI to monitor social distancing amid coronavirus

Shreya Ganguly ( )

As India opens up after the coronavirus-led lockdown, startups across India are stepping up to join the COVID-19 fight with innovative solutions. 


Pune-based Glimpse Analytics has repurposed its AI-based analytics device to alert stores or offices in case of social distancing and occupancy limit violations. It also monitors PPE compliance and sends out an alert in case people are not wearing masks. 


The three co-founders of Glimpse Analytics. Credit: Glimpse Analytics

Founded in 2018 by Kedar Pataki, Darshika Joshi, and Kakshil Shah, former colleagues at Mazkara Internet, Glimpse Analytics’ AI solution uses existing CCTV cameras in stores or offices to provide customer analytics, data on customers, employees, and merchandise to brick-and-mortar retailers. 


Speaking to YourStory, Kakshil and Darshika explains, “We were all working closely with the analytics segment before launching Glimpse Analytics. We wanted to see how the analytics world could be brought into the offline space. Our vision was to provide analytics and data for offline spaces.”  


Kakshil explains that with a focus on especially retail analytics, AI-based device Glimpse Edge could use the CCTV cameras to provide actionable data on customer demographics, footfalls, profiles, heat maps and more. The data, accessible on the Glimpse Analytics dashboard, helps optimise the shopper experience and increase retailer conversions. 


Kedar claims that the original device has also secured General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance and has clients in Europe as well.

Repurposing for the coronavirus fight

Kedar says after the coronavirus outbreak, the hardware device was repurposed to identify people not wearing masks or violating social distancing norms and send alerts via email, SMS/ WhatsApp, or the Glimpse Analytics mobile app. The alert included an image of the particular area to prove the violation.


“We decided to repurpose our device because we saw the need in the industry such as retail, offices, manufacturing, and other sectors. A few of our existing customers started asking about such possibilities with our solution. This diversification presented itself as an alternate revenue stream, which benefited us greatly,” he says.


Kakshil says the device has “taken care of privacy as the device will not capture and store any video or identify customers. It will just provide data and send alerts in case of violations”.


The co-founder explains that the device can work with any kind of CCTV camera setup and can be used beyond retail stores or offices


“We are in talks with government agencies to deploy the technology in public parks and metro stations to provide analytics,” Kakshil says.


Kakshil says the COVID-19 situation and the repurposed feature has accelerated the growth of the startup as orders that were in the pipeline got completed quickly owing to the pandemic breakout. 


The analytics startup claims to have received an increased number of queries and orders for the product as stores, malls, warehouses, factories, and offices open up.


“Since the [COVID-19] situation came up, we have received orders for more than 300 locations across the globe for the same and have more than 500 locations in the pipeline/POC phase,” Kedar claims.

Business model and the future

Kakshil says Glimpse Analytics offers subscription and one-time purchase models. Clients can purchase the Glimpse Edge device on a monthly subscription basis, starting from Rs 7,500 and the rate increases depending on the features, use cases and the number of cameras being used. Users can also purchase the products at a starting price of Rs 90,000 for 15 cameras. The price of the variants differs based on the number of cameras it can support. 


The startup’s client list includes retail brands such as Future Group, Samarth Mart, The Souled Store, Synergy United Co. W.L.L, and The Pink Mirror, among others.


According to the founders, the repurposed device is currently being used by Samarth Group, Adani Group, EastWestSeed, Al Murad Group, and Blow Fashion Agency


Similar services are provided by London-headquartered PoS Insights, which also has an office in Mumbai. It offers an AI-based device that can analyse data from any existing CCTV camera setup. PoS Insights is also using its AI device to monitor social distancing, queue management, customer occupancy, and PPE compliance.


Speaking about future plans, Kakshil says the idea is to use the AI-based device to monitor human behaviour and add more features that can help report traffic violations and more. 


“The vision is to make Glimpse AI the analytics engine of the physical world. Our system can track people and things, and their behaviour. It can be used across various sectors such manufacturing, airports, retail, public spaces, banks, and fuel pumps to analyse how humans interact in those spaces, and use the data to optimise the same,” the co-founders say.


Apart from this, they say the solution can also be used for perimeter monitoring, auto opening gates, traffic violations, car model detection, brand analytics, manufacturing efficiency, and OOH advertising analytics.


(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)

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