TJ Morris to introduce traffic light queueing system at Home Bargains stores

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Hitachi Europe, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, and TJ Morris, owner of Home Bargains, have today announced they have entered into a technology partnership to help keep customers safe against Covid-19. New motion sensor technology from Hitachi will be installed in all 550 Home Bargains stores across the country to monitor and limit the number of people inside.

Home Bargains is the latest retailer to announce the introduction of an automated traffic light queueing system to control the number of customers in their stores. Following government guidelines, each store has calculated how many people can be inside and maintain a safe distance from one another. Based on each store’s capacity limit, the new traffic light system will signal when it’s safe for customers to enter.

The innovative technology behind this system is Hitachi’s 3D LiDAR (TOF) Motion Sensor. Installed by the entrance and exit of Home Bargains stores, the sensor is equipped with technology that will simultaneously count people entering and exiting. In real-time, the number of people in-store can then be accurately calculated and communicated to the traffic light signal that determines when new customers can enter safely. When the light signals green, customers will be able to enter the store – when red, customers will have to remain outside until someone leaves.

In addition to people counting, Hitachi’s TOF sensor can also track a customer’s journey around a store by directly detecting human shape and movement, identifying where they stopped and who they passed by. This is achieved without privacy invasion, as unlike CCTV cameras the sensor provides real-time insights without collecting personal information.

Hitachi Europe, digital media group general manager, Roland Fritsch, commented:  “Our partnership with leading discount retailer TJ Morris is the type of collaboration needed in order to help industries adapt to Covid-19. By combining both our fields of expertise, we’ve created a system using Hitachi 3D LiDAR technology that enhances customer’s safety in stores without invading their privacy. We’re optimistic this project will be a great success and provide more opportunities for further R&D collaboration that can benefit TJ Morris’ customers.”

Commenting on the partnership TJ Morris director of innovation, Joe Morris, added: “Over the past few months, retail environments have changed, and we’ve had to quickly adapt to new ways of operating. New, innovative technologies have played a significant part in us still being able to provide a safe and pleasant shopping experience for our customers. By collaborating directly with manufactures, like Hitachi, we’re able to actively contribute and share our knowledge to ultimately provide a better, tailored solution for our stores. The capabilities and applications of Hitachi’s 3D LiDAR sensor are transformative for the retail industry and we believe it will offer us both great value and future opportunities.”