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"Increased insights are necessary for the survival of physical retail"


During IBM's annual flagship event IBM Think Summit on October 3 at the Munich Brewery in Stockholm, Fredrik Hammargården, co-founder and commercialization manager at Indivd, participated on the main stage to talk about Indivds revolutionary technology, the problem of people counting, and GDPR.


The purpose of the IBM-Smart Summit is to gather customers and partners to jointly explore insights, ideas, and innovations that shape how the world works. How we can build smarter companies and how we can make the world we live in a better place.


In his speech, Fredrik Hammargården explained that GDPR has changed and continues to change our reality and that it is something very good.


"We are working for increased integrity in our society and therefore oppose an emerging people counting and retail analytics. It is with this background that we have developed our alternative technology, which we call anonymous people counting," he explained and continued:


- This is the first ethical people counting, which has attracted considerable attention in the IT security and retail industry. And it has really divided the field, where some feel it is fantastic and very exciting that we have developed a GDPR-friendly technology, while others don't believe that it is possible to use people counting without storing personal data. Something we have accomplished. The technology is both technologically validated and validated by legal experts. We are just waiting for the Swedish authorities to say theirs too.


Radically different

Fredrik Hammargården explained that people counting, with the use of existing store cameras is currently the most effective technique when it comes to creating customer insight. But Indivd is radically different compared to traditional people counting.


- The infrastructures for our technology and traditional people counting are similar. Both technologies use images from the cameras both use local servers, where image data is collected and destructed. The difference is that anonymous people counting anonymize the data within 1-2 milliseconds instead of processing sensitive data. Our data is transformed into population data, which can no longer be linked to a physical person. We calculate data and insights on populations and such insights can be all visitors during a certain week in a certain store, all visitors during a certain day, the revisitation frequency in the store, conversion rate, and purchase behavior over time.


Customer insights are vital to retail

Such insights are vital to the survival of physical retail in the fight against the ever-growing e-commerce.


- Traditional retail lacks an understanding for its visitors. Studies show that they lack approximately 84 percent of the knowledge they would need to create accurate strategies. The risks for unsuccessful investments or - which is more likely - no investments at all is, therefore, huge, which is a death sentence in the fight against e-commerce, explained Fredrik Hammargården and concluded his speech by thanking the trade for all support:


- This is an ongoing journey. We validated the technology just a month ago. We are now planning the first five pilots with national and international retail chains. But we would not have made it this far if it hadn't been for great efforts from the market and the entire ecosystem, not least from our future prospective customers. We are also grateful for the strong support we have received from IBM Sweden throughout this journey.


Great interest from the research

On a question from the audience, if this new technology can help to reduce the big food waste, Fredrik Hammargården replied:


- We have ongoing dialogues with researchers who would like to use our technology to study how food waste can be reduced, but also how the food industry is best adapted to more sustainable production. The industry has today a greater demand for organic goods than they are able to sell in stores. Understanding consumer behavior is a very important insight to change this very thing.

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