Revved Up Retail: Mercedes-Benz Consulting Optimizes Dealership Layout Using Modcam Store Analytics

Retailers bring real-time analytics powered by NVIDIA Jetson Nano to their stores.
by Azita Martin

Retailers are bringing the power of AI to their stores to better understand customer buying behavior and preferences and provide them a better experience.

AI startup Modcam, based in Sweden, uses smart sensors to provide detailed data on retail, showroom and office space traffic. These sensors, powered by NVIDIA Jetson Nano modules, perform real-time compute of AI algorithms using this data at the edge.

This allows retailers of all sorts to securely extract valuable insights regarding customer buying preferences.

Mercedes-Benz Consulting is working with the startup to hit the accelerator on the next generation of the automotive retail experience. Just outside its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, the company has constructed an experimental showroom equipped with Modcam sensors to test different layouts and new in-store technologies.

Since cars are an occasional, big-ticket purchase for most people, much of an automaker’s retail success relies on the showroom experience. As car companies invest in autonomous and intelligent driving technologies, they’re also looking to their storefronts to deliver an easy-to-navigate, optimized layout that enhances the shopping experience.

With the help of Modcam’s AI algorithms for edge computing, Mercedes-Benz Consulting has gained valuable insight into consumer behavior in both the show floor and service areas.

Smart Shopping

Modcam’s intelligent AI analyzes how people move in spaces. This helps retailers determine patterns, like whether a certain layout or signage is effective, and identifies customer interest in products that they may linger over.

It does so without collecting or storing private information. The deep neural networks running at the edge detect customers as people with non-identifying characteristics, and the smart sensors don’t store any of the images they analyze.

Modcam relies on the high-performance, energy-efficient Jetson Nano and is optimized using the NVIDIA Metropolis application framework to perform this real-time compute. This small, yet powerful computer lets Modcam run multiple deep neural networks in parallel for applications such as object detection, segmentation and tracking — all in an easy-to-use platform that runs in as little as 5 watts.

“Our previous generation of sensors and processors wasn’t powerful enough, so we upgraded to the NVIDIA Jetson Nano to deliver a 60x increase in neural network performance demanded by our next-generation systems,” said Andreas Nordgren, chief operating officer at Modcam.

And with this high-performance, intelligent edge solution, Modcam is helping retailers around the world deliver more optimized merchandising and a better shopping experience.

Modcam is a member of NVIDIA Inception, a virtual accelerator program that enables early-stage companies with fundamental tools, expertise and go-to-market support.

AI-Powered Luxury

With the concept store near its headquarters, Mercedes-Benz Consulting can test different floor layouts as well as touchscreen promotions and signage to display product information.

By outfitting the store with Modcam’s edge AI system, the automaker is able to measure the success of these layouts and campaigns, determining how much traffic flows to which models and how customers interact with different store configurations.

The luxury automaker can then extend these learnings to its dealerships around the world to optimize the customer buying and service experience.

And with the help of real-time edge computing, they can iterate quickly to consistently provide the best possible in-store experience.