Innovend presents a high-profile first at the Internorga in Hamburg: people tracking for unmanned company restaurants, canteens, food shops and many more applications. This makes unmanned sales faster, easier and, for the operator, more profitable.

“The largest European trade fair for hospitality and hospitality is the ideal stage for presenting the latest Zuply innovation,” says Sander Sciarone. He is director of Innovend. “We are there together with our partner qnips, the digital platform for contract catering. We will show an unmanned shop in a container on the stand. That will be a live demonstration: visitors can go in and experience for themselves how it works.”

Colruyt Group

Innovend developed the technology in close cooperation with Smart Technics, part of the Belgian retail group Colruyt Group. Together they previously built the Lynx iQ. The partners introduced this smart fridge in 2023. The smart fridge was received very enthusiastically. It is a refrigerated vending machine that looks like a fancy display case and where customers can grab products themselves. The shelves are freely dividable into multiple segments, and built-in sensors record exactly which products and how much a customer grabs. The process is similar to buying in a supermarket – but without the scanning!

One checkout

People tracking makes it even faster and easier. This technique in itself is not new. For example, it is used in supermarkets to determine consumer flows and behavior: which aisles do better than others and which products are picked from the shelf there?
The technique uses cameras that follow the customer’s movements. So it is possible to identify yourself through an app, open the smart refrigerators, collect products, checkout – and do so with several people at once. Apps that work with Zuply people tracking are those from qnips and Spar For You, both available for download in the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. Zuply’s own app can also be used. In the future, it will also be possible to use a bank card.
“In an unmanned store or other space, several smart refrigerators can be set up with a wide range of products,” Sander says. “The demonstration store at Internoga has as many as six. At the end, you bill everything at once. So you don’t have three or four receipts for different cabinets.”

Multiple customers at once

Equally important, multiple people can shop at the same time. Thanks to people tracking, the system knows who is at which refrigerator and what products he or she is grabbing. Sander: “The cameras follow the individual customers through the space. If someone extends his or her hand to one of those smart refrigerators, the camera sees it and then it automatically opens the door. The items the customer grabs go into his or her virtual basket. With regular vending machines, you have to wait for each other’s turn: only when the first one is done can customer two get going.”
Not having to wait anymore is nice for the customers, as is the smooth buying process. The latter is also nice for the operator of the unmanned shop or restaurant: more capacity paves the way for higher sales. “During breaks in factories and offices, a company restaurant or canteen has to process a lot of people in a short period of time. So with that time pressure, it’s nice if you can have multiple people grabbing their food and drinks at the same time and check them off automatically.”
Sander adds that Innovend and the operator do not store the customer’s identity or personal characteristics. “The camera signals that a person is coming in and just follows him or her around the room. It doesn’t know who you are, doesn’t do facial recognition or anything … None of that is necessary. It just follows you and therefore can know from which Lynx iQ you take something. What products those are tells that smart refrigerator, thanks to the weighing sensors. The system does not know who the customer is. Privacy is guaranteed.”

Also suitable for industry and healthcare

Internorga is a food fair. “There we expect a lot of interest from parties from retail and corporate canteens, hotels, catering locations. Especially since they can provide 24/7 service to their customers or guests with this solution. Wider opening hours without additional personnel costs… Count your profits!”
The solution lends itself to many more sectors and applications. Sander already has some concrete ideas: “Staff and visitor rooms in hospitals and nursing homes, for example.” Innovend plans to test the solution at a selective number of locations this year.

Visit us during Internorga at booth 306 in Hall A2. We will be present from March 8 to 12 to demonstrate people tracking. In a recreated and fully functioning food shop, you can experience the speed and convenience for yourself.

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