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Smart Shelfie — Internet of Shelves: For Higher On-Shelf Availability

Out of stock is a great concern for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) and Retail organizations [1]. They lose billions of dollars every year. If items of interest are not available on the shelves, 31% customers buy from somewhere else and 26% buy a different brand [2]. This paper describes how the racks / shelves at a retail store can be made smarter such that they can raise alerts to replenish themselves. Smart alerts to workers in retail shop can avoid manual checks and alerts to CPG companies can expedite replenishment if retailers do not maintain the right quantity or replenishes within Service Level Agreement (SLA). While load sensors have been the most common practice [3][4], it has not succeeded as anything else on the shelves still meant ‘available’. This leaves us with a challenge to track not only the quantity but also the right brand, right variant in the right position with right visibility to shoppers on the right shelf.

Internet of Things can help make this thing (shelves) smarter to required extent. We have enabled shelves to take its own selfie using a simple camera and then the imageprocessing algorithms take over to do required analytics and raise alerts with the right person. This solution scores higher over other hardware and capital intensive IoT solutions being worked upon. The paper describes in detail about the work done by our team and the impressive results achieved. The solution can be implemented using a commonly available device like a smartphone camera or even the camera in retail shops can be put to use for real time or more frequent checks.