Marketing, sports data apps team up in battle against pandemic
TOKYO (JAPAN) – Devices designed for enhancing customer marketing and sports performance are now being put to use in the fight against COVID-19 as companies deploy the best of their technologies to meet new needs during the pandemic.
Hitachi-LG Data Storage originally developed its 3D LiDAR People Counter sensor for retail stores to trace shoppers’ movements and evaluate data so as to see progress in sales and customer satisfaction.
The company, a joint venture between Japan’s Hitachi and South Korea’s LG Electronics, has now coupled the application with a heat detection and camera app, which also takes customers’ temperatures and monitors if they are wearing a mask through the means of a facial detection system.
The technology monitors the number of people and their movements so as to avoid congestion and it gauges the times one waits at cash registers, to help bring down infection risks. It can also find out whether or not a customer has stopped by a particular area such as a required hand sanitiser station.
This move follows as retailers look forward to create a safe environment and bring back peace of mind to the in-store experience as fears of infection have left customers away during the pandemic.
Norimoto Ichikawa, head of Hitachi-LG Data Storage’s software development team, told at the annual Wearables Expo in Tokyo, “It was often used for marketing before but recently it has been used in various places for unmanned stores. Since the coronavirus the number of unmanned stores has increased quite a lot.”
Union Tool, exhibiting at the same trade show, said it was expecting to promote its wearable heart sensor for applications such as a monitoring device for COVID-19 patients at quarantine hotels.
The sensor can remotely monitor a person’s heart rate and temperature, and is now used for health management, in addition to collection of biometric data for sports and exercise.
Union Tool is joining hands with Toyobo for the sensor to be used with the latter’s stretchable conductive film for wearable devices and that would be used in clothing.
Naoki Jimbo, head of Union Tool’s sales and marketing department, “If the number of patients increases in the future and more people will need to be quarantined at home or hotel, I think there’s a possibility that such sensors can be used to remotely monitor people’s condition in real time.”