Hokkaido University-based TIL, AWL, and Chowa Giken Collaborate to Develop COVID-19 Solutions
~Hokkaido University Business Spring-based Startups TIL, AWL, and Chowa Giken to start development of COVID-19 Solutions.~
TIL Inc. (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, President and CEO Kei Fujinami, hereinafter referred to as “the Company”), which is developing technology for an AI voice recorder, the AI camera solution focused AWL Inc. (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, President and CEO Muneharu Kitaide, hereinafter referred to as “AWL”), Chowa Giken Inc. (Head Office: Sapporo City, Hokkaido, President Takuya Nakamura, hereinafter referred to as “Chowa Giken”), which is focused on AI algorithm development are working around the clock to develop new countermeasures against the COVID-19 pandemic, with solutions focused on developing technology to secure the safety of people onsite for retail stores.
The Catalyst for the Initiative
With the announcement of the State of Emergency within Japan by Prime Minister Abe, the COVID-19 pandemic is poised to freeze Japanese society in its tracks. Even within this turmoil, retail stores are attempting to secure measures to combat the epidemic and continue business so that society can function. However, they are faced with huge hurdles in individually implementing sustainable safety measures in the mid-to-long term that would help to prevent an outbreak and a subsequent lockdown.
Against this looming threat, the three AI ventures are involved in AI camera development, algorithm development, and an AI voice recorder solution, and are cooperating to rapidly develop solutions that will keep society moving forward despite the oncoming tide of COVID-19.
List of Functions in Development
The following technologies are currently in development by the three startups:
- Solutions to prevent customer harassment and other problems during sales of hygiene products
Through camera audio and video analysis, measures are enacted to protect employees from “Customer Harassment” such as requests and claims originating from disputes over masks, disinfectants, etc. Employees, store managers, and the head office, are alerted when trouble is detected, and authorities are alerted in extreme cases of malicious behavior.
- Congestion detection and warning system for cash registers
Through camera audio and video analysis, when a predetermined amount of congestion near the cash register or trouble between customers is detected, employees, store managers, head office, etc., are notified to support an appropriate response.
- Distance detection between customers
Camera video analysis measures body temperature at the employee entrances to detect those suspected of having a fever. Employees, store managers, head office, etc. are alerted in real time facilitating appropriate responses.
- Automated mask detection and announcement function
Camera video analysis automatically detects customers who are not wearing face masks, and the number of people as well as percentages is displayed on a dashboard for each store, alerting employees, store managers, head office, etc. in real time as needed to support an appropriate response.
- Customer-to-customer distance detection
Camera video analysis automatically detects the number and percentage of customers in a situation where the distance between customers is closer than a predetermined value, displaying the number and percentage of each store on a dashboard, alerting employees, store managers, head office, etc. in real time as needed.
- Track number of contacts between staff and customers
Camera video analysis determines the presence or absence of contact between a clerk and a customer. The density of people within a given store is automatically detected, and if the number of close contacts exceeds a predetermined amount, the data is fed to a dashboard, while simultaneously alerting employees, store managers, head office, etc. in real time.
- In-store population density measurement
Camera video analysis measures the size of the store, the number of visitors, and the amount of time each visitor is in a store. When the population density of the store is exceeded, the number and percentage of people in each store is fed to a dashboard, alerting employees, store managers, head office, etc. in real time if necessary.
- Alcohol disinfection detection
Camera video analysis automatically detects whether employees or customers have followed alcohol disinfection protocols, and data on the number of people and percentages for each store is fed to a dashboard, alerting employees, store managers, head office, etc. in real time if necessary.
In addition, solutions that utilize image and speech recognition are in development for rapid deployment across retail shops.