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Automatic Checkout Lane Co-ordination: Balancing the Checkout Load Between Lanes in Retail Stores

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000207365D
Publication Date: 2011-May-27
Document File: 2 page(s) / 26K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method to automatically balance the checkout load between different checkout lanes in a retail store, with the objective of maximizing checkout throughput and minimizing the waiting time of customers. The system utilizes technologies from both surveillance cameras and data capture from the point of sale (POS) devices. Upon analyzing the information collected from the cameras and the POS devices, the system directs customers to the lane which supports the most efficient checkout process.

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Automatic Checkout Lane Co-ordination: Balancing the Checkout Load Between Lanes in Retail Stores

At crowded retail stores, some customers will give up their shopping plan, due to their hesitance to spend too much time standing in line. This induces loss to retailers.

In practice, a customer's decision regarding which lane to join is simply based on the current number of other customers standing in line at that lane. However, the length of the line is not the only factor that determines the load of the lane. Some other factors may include the operating speed of the cashier and the total amount of merchandise.

One simple way to reduce the average waiting time of customers is to optimize the store's checkout throughput.

In computer networking, load balancing is a technique to distribute workload evenly across two or more computers, network links, Central Processing Units (CPUs), hard drives, or other resources, in order to reach optimal resource utilization, maximize throughput, minimize response time, and avoid overload. Load balancing usually utilizes a scheduling algorithm to determine to which resource to send an incoming request.

The invention takes inspiration from this idea, utilizing an approach to automatically balance the checkout load between different checkout lanes in a retail store, with the objective of maximizing checkout throughput and minimizing the waiting time of customers.

The disclosed system analyzes video from cameras mounted above checkout lanes and data generated by the point-of-sale (POS) system. The system is based on an existing surveillance solution framework, which utilizes Smart...