United Kingdom

Woolworths rolls out 3D blob cameras to count customers during Christmas rush

Woolworths will roll out a new high-technology camera system to keep count of customers and ensure stores are COVID-safe during the Christmas rush.

The supermarket giant will set up small 3D cameras at the entrance and exit of stores to monitor how many shoppers are coming in and out.

To keep the privacy of shoppers, the cameras will only recognise them as blurred circular shapes known as 'blobs' which is a scientific term for 'binary large objects'.

The service will mean staff members won't have to manually count each shopper coming into the store and the system will alert workers when too many are inside. 

Melbourne shoppers can expect to see the cameras rolled out in the coming weeks as Woolworths plans to have them installed across the country.

Woolworths will roll out a state-of-the-art camera system to keep count of how many customers are entering the store over Christmas (shoppers walk past Woolworths in Sydney)

3D cameras will be set up at the entrance and exit of each store and will alert staff when too many shoppers are inside (shopper wears a face mask in a Sydney Woolworths)

A Woolworths spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia the footage taken will only be stored for a limited amount of time.   

'The safety of our team and customers is our top priority and we're determined to ensure it's a COVIDsafe Christmas at Woolworths this year,' the spokesperson said.

'We've been doing manual store counts to regulate the number of customers in our stores for many months now.

'As we head into the busy Christmas season, we'll be trialling new technology at our store entry points to keep track of customer numbers.

'If the number of customers hits the store's limit, our team will be notified in an app and implement queuing, just as they do with manual counts now.'

Earlier in the year Woolworths rolled out the Q-Tracker system which enabled customers to see how busy a store was and even book in to go shopping at certain times.

The new technology will work alongside this system. 

Bunnings Warehouse is also preparing to launch a service that involves workers counting customers via an app.

Staff will then be alerted by support offices if the number of shoppers is too high. 

The service is expected to be rolled out in time for Christmas 

The new system will work with the Q-Tracker system which enables shoppers to see how busy Woolworths stores are (pictured people line up outside Woolworths metro store in Melbourne)

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