The Retail Innovation Foundry (RIF)
The pilot project at Place Ste-Foy ended on March 31, 2019
Retail innovation foundry pilot project at place Ste-Foy
To help local retailers get a firm grip on new technologies to offer superior service to their customers, the Retail Innovation Foundry (RIF) carried out a pilot project using anonymous video analytics (AVA) on the premises of three participating Place Ste-Foy retailers: BonLook, La Vie en Rose and Tristan, from January 21, 2019, to March 31, 2019
While protecting consumer privacy, this pilot project provided a better understanding of consumer profiles and behaviours in the participating retailers’ physical spaces and generated knowledge that will be used, among other things, to help make shopping simpler and more enjoyable for consumers.
WHY IS AN INQUIRY CURRENTLY UNDERWAY BY THE COMMISSION D’ACCÈS À L’INFORMATION? DID THE PILOT PROJECT THAT WASN’T COMPLIANT WITH THE LAW?
To be as transparent as possible, whilst putting consumer privacy at the forefront, we contacted the Commission d’accès à l’information prior to the launch of the pilot project to inform them of our responsible approach and open the discussion on the matter.
We are collaborating with the Commission d’accès à l’information on the ongoing investigation. It is our understanding that the ongoing inquiry began following the announcement of the pilot project in the media which garnered public interest. An inquiry is the usual method that the Commission d’accès à l’information uses to relay its recommendations on the use of new technologies such as AVA during the pilot project at Place Ste-Foy.
DO YOU INTEND TO RESTART THE PILOT? IF SO, WHEN?
We are analyzing the results of the pilot project, and we are considering different scenarios. At this point, no decision has been made.
WHAT IS THE RETAIL INNOVATION FOUNDRY (RIF)?
Ivanhoé Cambridge and Galilei, a specialized innovation company affiliated with Concordia University, cofounded the Retail Innovation Foundry (RIF).
RIF also brings together shopping centre operators, retailers, technology companies, university researchers and innovation activators whose collaborative efforts are stimulating the next generation of applications, tools and experiences for the Canadian retail sector.
WAS FACIAL RECOGNITION USED DURING THE PLACE STE-FOY PILOT PROJECT?
No, the technology used during the pilot project at Place Ste-Foy was anonymous video analytics (AVA). The video and picture files obtained with this technology are never stored or used to identify consumers.
WHAT IS ANONYMOUS VIDEO ANALYTICS (AVA)?
AVA technology uses video cameras to take pictures and videos of consumers. The video and picture files obtained with this technology are never stored or used to identify consumers.
The images are used to determine the approximate age, gender and reactions of shoppers in the physical space of the participating local retailers. Once the data have been extracted, they are aggregated by the software and stored in the form of numerical files, with no images or videos of the consumers.
DOES THIS TECHNOLOGY RESPECT CONSUMER PRIVACY?
To ensure consumer privacy, the technology collects aggregate data on an entirely anonymous basis; it cannot be used to record or store images, or to identify the people filmed. For more information, please consult the confidentiality policy on the Place Ste-Foy website.
WHY USE THIS NEW TECHNOLOGY IN STORES?
To remain competitive, the participating local retailers used this new technology to gain a better understanding of consumer habits in their stores as to offer a superior shopping experience better suited to the needs of the local clientele.
WHICH TYPES OF KNOWLEDGE WILL BE GENERATED FROM THE DATA COLLECTED?
This technology will make it possible to gain a better understanding of consumer demographic profiles and behaviours in the participating retailers’ physical spaces so that they can, for example, adjust their product lines, reconfigure their stores and offer new services to make shopping simpler and more enjoyable for consumers.
HOW DID CONSUMERS KNOW THAT THE TECHNOLOGY WAS IN PLACE AT A PARTICIPATING RETAILER DURING THE PILOT PROJECT?
A sign stating that AVA, people-counting and device-counting technologies are used in the store was posted on the participating retailer’s storefront. Furthermore, an information brochure was available at participating retailers upon request.
HOW DID CONSUMERS COME TO KNOW THAT THE PILOT PROJECT WAS IN PROGRESS AT PLACE STE-FOY?
Several measures were put in place to inform customers that the pilot project was underway at Place Ste-Foy, and that the AVA technology was being used. Please find the shortlist below:
Signs were installed at the main entrances of the shopping centre;
Signs were also installed on participating retailers’ storefronts;
An information brochure was available at the concierge and at participating retailers;
An information video was available online;
Place Ste-Foy’s website has a dedicated section to the pilot project;
A media relations campaign announcing the launch of the pilot project at Place Ste-Foy was orchestrated;
WHERE WERE THE AVA CAMERAS? ARE THEY STILL ACTIVE?
No, the cameras are inactive as of March 31, 2019. The cameras are still in place and located at the entrance to and inside the participating stores.