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Shopping by numbers: Tesco pilots automated system to control store entry

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TESCO is rolling out an automated entrance system to manage and limit the flow of customers into its stores.

The system developed by retail tech and logistics firm Wanzl employs what Tesco calls a "3D body imaging system" using a camera to sense and count each arriving customer.

But a Tesco spokesperson said the camera does not record, does not capture the person's image and generates no person-specific data.

"The camera is involved only on a sensory basis to count those entering. It doesn't recognise or record individuals," the spokesperson said.

The planned national roll-out follows a trial at its Greystones branch, where store manager David Murphy said the system had delivered "great peace of mind for managing the numbers in store at any given time".

Arriving customers see the system's video monitor display the number of people already in the store, along with a green light permitting entry or a red light advising them to wait outside.

This display, Mr Murphy said, helps "customers to know they're entering a safe environment". He added: "With social distancing and the management of the flow of people likely to be with us for the near future, this technology is very important."

It will allow Tesco outlets to reduce the number of security or other staff manually controlling the flow of customers at entrances. They will still be deployed when queues form outside and during elderly-shopping hours.

Irish Independent