Target stores recently leveraged their in-store camera network to create an app that counts the number of guests in a store. They did this in order to comply with the various capacity restrictions placed upon them in different geographies due to the pandemic. Target had the application in some stores for testing within a week of starting the project, and had it running nationally just a few weeks after the testing phase. The story that follows does a great job of describing how Target executed with such quick precision, and also how the project opened the door for a number of new IoT applications.
“IoT has been hyped forever, right?” Target CIO Mike McNamara answered when I asked which emerging technologies he finds interesting right now. But the pandemic changed his thinking about the value of IoT and edge computing.
In the early days of lockdown last year, Target was a lifeline for people with few options for groceries and other necessities. The company had to quickly figure out how to follow local mandates regarding store capacity, and assigning an employee to stand by the front door with a counter just wasn’t going to work across Target’s 1,900 U.S. stores.
The answer was staring them in the face. Like most retailers, Target already had cameras pointed at those entrances.