Solving Consumer-Facing Challenges Through Open-Source Technology

Consumer-facing industries such as retail and hospitality need help to get to their solutions faster. Accelerating solution-based development is a critical step to accomplishing this goal. Communicating with devices at the edge has proven a challenge for these sectors, as their primary concern is accessing that data, not necessarily the process that drives the result. Time and resources on this end aren’t necessarily where  retailers want to devote their budgets. 

How can these industries overcome these challenges? That’s where the Intel and open-source communities like EdgeX can help. To the Edge and Beyond’s Gabrielle Bejarano spoke with Intel Product Engineer Sean Williams on how Intel utilizes open-source solutions to overcome the communication hurdles and get industries the data they need to solve pressing business problems. 

One such open source-based solution, Williams said, is a camera management inferencing solution, which provides device connectors. “These device connectors allow you to communicate, connect, and control IP cameras at the edge. Out of the box, if you have this example, you can just download the software, launch the software stack, and immediately you’re talking, and you’re connecting to other IP cameras or USB Cameras at the edge.” 

The solution also helps retailer face problems like theft and inventory management using object detection.“If you’re in an environment where retailers want to know the inventory, if the inventory is low, you can do on-the-shelf observations,. “You can also capture when customers are using self-checkout to incorrectly register expensive items like a bottle of wine with inexpensive items like bananas” – Williams said.  

Shaping these solutions doesn’t happen alone; collaboration makes the best technology offerings come to life. “We’re working primarily with the EdgeX community, and that’s the open-source platform that provides many of these plug & play connectors that I’ve talked about,” Williams said. “And that’s the power again, right, because the power is in the data. And the data comes from how you can talk to those devices at the edge. Using EdgeX, as the name offers, allows these connectors to be validated, tested, tried and true, and almost out of the box, you can say, hey, I want to talk to an RFID sensor; you get the RFID connector.” EdgeX provides the ability to connect to all these sensors across many industries. 

Learn more about open-source solutions for retail and hospitality industries by by connecting  with Sean Williams on LinkedIn or visiting EdgeX.

Check out the EdgeX Camera management sample application.

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