FutureProof Retail: Efficacious In-store Loss Prevention Solutions

FutureProof Retail: Efficacious In-store Loss Prevention Solutions

CIO VendorWilliam Hogben, CEO
The losses incurred by the retail industry on account of shoplifting and employee theft, particularly co-operative grocery stores, is substantial considering the low profit margins they operate on. “Oftentimes, even before the store gets an inkling about what is happening, well-organized and professional shoplifting gangs have made away with goods worth thousands of dollars in any given week,” says William Hogben, CEO, FutureProof Retail (FPR). NY-based FutureProof Retail has established itself as a provider of easy-to-use, white-labeled check-out apps that secure a store’s merchandise while enhancing the shopping experience for the consumers.

To further the initiative of streamlining in-store security, FPR has created a FutureProof platform that allows shoppers to “shop right into their own bags” and check themselves out. The white-labeled system offered by FPR is highly customizable and unlike any other third party app. It allows the merchant to own both the install and the customer relationships. FPR’s Mobile Checkout app enables customers to interact with the in-store checkout system by scanning a QR code when they finish shopping followed by a clearance to leave or wait if unscanned items are detected in the bag. With FPR’s loss prevention tools, in-store staff can use mobile phone features such as smart bag checks, purchase activity monitoring, and user flagging to identify a suspicious shopper. “Our system is a lot like an immune system. When someone fails a bag check our system learns what to look for and it trains not just that store, but all our stores how to filter out bad guys. When people try to exploit it they end up making it stronger,” explains Hogben.

The ideology behind our system is to weed out dishonesty in all its forms, wherever it manifests

The firm’s Merchant Dashboard application enables the store to monitor a customer’s behavior history to make a note of their purchasing habits and identify unusual consumer behavior, thereby increasing the chances of a bag-check to forestall cases of theft by 100 percent.

“Although a lot of loss prevention innovation focuses on RFID, it falls short when it comes to food, since the tags don't scan through glass or liquids,” asserts Hogben. FPR instead uses technologies including machine learning and camera analysis in their system to prevent loss and to significantly bring down shoplifting. Additionally, the shopper’s image is captured by the camera at the entry point, which helps the staff to initiate a personalized conversation—a big deterrent to shoplifting tendencies. In one of the instances, the retail staff at a FPR pilot store in CA was caught engaging in in-store theft. The revelation led the store to unearth a fraud case involving the staff that had cost the store several hundred thousand dollars over a period of 10 years. “It’s not just about curtailing in-store theft, the ideology behind our system is to identify dishonesty in all it's forms. You're always going to have people willing to steal - our system let's merchants easily filter them out,” says Hogben.

With a majority of their budget dedicated to R&D, FPR has been investing heavily in making their system available on a wide array of hardware and platforms. The firm will be announcing new hardware partners that will allow them to bring new stores online with nothing but a software upgrade. Moving ahead, FPR is focused on providing the core technologies that allow merchants and shoppers to interact digitally, online and, more uniquely, in person. “The mobile checkout market is poised to explode,” Hogben remarks, “Sainsbury's, Lidl, and more are running test programs right now but real catalyst is going to be when WalMart gets into the game later this fall. In five years everybody's going to be shopping with their phones.”

FutureProof Retail News

Sentient Energy Partners with Top Tier Utility to Test Underground Grid Sensors

NEW ORLEANS: Sentient Energy, Inc., a leading provider of advanced grid monitoring and analytics for electric utilities, is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with Exelon’s utility companies to help develop and test its new UM3+ intelligent line monitor designed for underground deployment.

“Sentient has been developing the UM3+ for nearly three years. Working with Exelon provides the necessary utility leadership and insights to enable Sentient to demonstrate the value of the UM3+ to manage underground network,” said James Keener, CEO, Sentient Energy.

Sentient’s UM3+ and grid analytics solution enables utilities to improve SAIDI and SAIFI across their padmount, manhole and vault infrastructure. The UM3+ will not only detect and locate faults, it will also provide insights into pre-fault conditions on the network for corrective action.

“The safety and reliability of our systems is our priority and the intelligent sensors and analytics contribute to our performance strategy,” said Jim Crane, Director Innovations & Solutions, of Exelon Utilities.

Sentient UM3+™ is the first intelligent distribution grid monitor designed for underground deployment. Sentient’s UM3+™ extends to underground circuits the capabilities of Sentient’s Ample® Software, and MM3™ and ZM1™ overhead line monitors to detect, capture, analyze and communicate faults and non-fault disturbances over both AMI/DA mesh and cellular networks. Sentient Energy’s Grid Analytics SystemTM consists of intelligent sensors, distributed apps, and the Ample Analytics software suite.

Sentient Energy Announces Ample 4.0 with Advanced Analytics and Visualization

Sentient Energy, the industry leader of Intelligent Sensing Control Analytics Networks, announced the new version of the Sentient Energy Ample software. Ample 4.0 includes new "dashboard" workflow tools for data analytics, enhanced device management, and multi-sensor support for Sentient's ZeroAmp Monitor ZM1 alongside its flagship, the MM3. Sentient Energy Ample 4.0 enables utilities to proactively monitor and analyze grid activity and expand fault, momentary and disturbance detection to provide their customers excellent power quality and avoid possible outages due to high feeder level loading.

Ample 4.0's enhanced dashboard provides reliability engineers the ability to summarize all their critical network data in one interface, and then seamlessly drill-down to the circuit details. The new dashboard tools include a Load and Unbalance Monitor, Momentary Interruption and Disturbance Heat Map, Customizable Feeder Watchlist, and other improvements increasing analytic accuracy and usability.

Users can quickly locate potential "trouble-spots" down to a feeder segment - either due to high instances of momentary interruptions and disturbances, or over-loading and unbalance. Additionally, monitoring load and phase balancing enhances resiliency by ensuring that there is sufficient capacity for feeder switching and restoration.

"We are constantly looking for ways to design our products with the most beneficial features that will help our customers improve their energy operations and fault detection practices," said Konda Ankireddyapalli, CTO for Sentient Energy. "Ample 4.0 was designed to provide utilities a comprehensive analytics platform to monitor worst performing feeders and mitigate exceptions found that may cause future outages, momentary faults and power quality issues."

Other key features with Ample 4.0 include:

• Single instance support for the entire overhead grid including Sentient Energy's ZM1 Line Monitor for overhead lateral and MM3 sensors using cellular and mesh networks simultaneously

• State-of-the-art analytics algorithms that enhance detection of non-fault events such as loss of current not related to faults, momentary faults counters and non-fault disturbances

• New visualization seamlessly matching user workflows for features related to Fault detection, Circuit Loading Phase Balancing

• Enhanced support for FCI, Load Logging and Temperature Logging

Deployed on-premise or in the cloud, Ample 4.0 is the enterprise software component of Sentient Energy's Grid Analytics System which also includes Sentient Energy's Intelligent Sensors, Distributed Applications, Communications Gateways and Application Interfaces Support for integrating data with other utility applications.