MarketScale spoke with a variety of industry professionals at NRF 2020, Retail’s Big Show, getting the latest in industry trends, innovations and more.

Pensa Systems President and CEO Richard Schwartz sat down with MarketScale’s Geoffrey Short to discuss the use of drones in retail.

“We’re all about the problem of, ‘How do you know what’s on the shelf in retail? How do you know what’s there?’ … The industry has kind of tried everything,” Schwartz said.
Thus far, Schwartz said, every solution has been too expensive, too brittle, or too inaccurate. Drones, he believes, can change that.

“The thing about the autonomous drone is it’s very small, very light, and can come down and peer at the shelves. It can literally operate in store by being nowhere near people, but (it can) still come down and look a little bit over a short period of time,” he said. “It’s seeing from many different angles and perspectives. It’s kind of like substituting for 100 fixed cameras on every spot.”

Drones also don’t require major changes to a store, making the solution immediately scalable. Combined with more robust artificial intelligence, Schwartz said, this scalability could lead to rapid innovation.

Schwartz and Short also discussed the relationship between these drone solutions and human employees, how drones can gather data at a larger scale for retail chains as opposed to for a single store, and more.

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