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Need help? Meet the automatic CCTV controlled shop assistant.

Have you ever given up in despair when you can’t find what you are looking for in a shop, especially in one of the larger supermarkets or DIY establishments?

Then the latest development in sophisticated CCTV systems could be the answer to your problem.

A team at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands is developing software that can actually tell if you need help and a member of staff can therefore be located to help you.  The aim is twofold – to provide assistance for shoppers with better customer service while at the same time seeking to boost the profits of the retailers.

The fisheye cameras can tell if a customer is looking confused in a search for a particular item, or, on the other hand, whether they are heading straight towards a section confident that they will find what they are seeking there. Using the footage will further help categorise the behaviour of shoppers, by identifying specific browsing behaviours, including what items are picked up or put back, or when shoppers try clothes on.

Tests suggest that the system is more than 80 per cent accurate in its assessments, but, even if this advanced technology leads to a better shopping experience for both customers and retailers, the big question is whether or not it would be regarded as an intrusive  step too far.

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