Innovative Danish company with a local presence helps UAE retailers confront the challenges of COVID-19

Scientists from The University of Southern Denmark, the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute and Danish technology firm Vemco Group introduce new occupancy and social distancing management tools for the UAE


Dubai, UAE: Unfortunately, the Covid-19 outbreak continues to impact the way we live, from social behavior to government restrictions. Whilst some retail units and public spaces remain closed, others are open, needing to comply with government mandated occupancy and social distancing regulations. As the Eid weekend approaches, retailers are looking for solutions to manage visitors safely at a time of predicted higher demand.

Vemco Group is proud to introduce innovative technology to offer operating retailers in the UAE a solution to managing the new demands of reduced occupancy levels and social distancing. By working with Professor Mikkel Baun Kjærgaard from the Software Engineering department at the University of Southern Denmark and scientists at The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, the team has created algorithms to measure and analyze occupancy levels and social distancing using the latest technology - AI sensors.

This feature is an addition to the group’s Vemcount analytics platform that will help retailers to ensure safety, demonstrating best practice and earning trust with their customers. Vemcount’s occupancy and social distancing features have quickly found success in thousands of retail spaces across Europe since being introduced in April and is being introduced to the UAE through its local partner, Mercury Projects.

Since 2005, Vemcount’s analytics platform has been one of the leading analytics software platforms for analyzing footfall and sales. Its software is already used globally by major retailers, supermarkets, malls and in the hospitality sector. In the Middle East, clients such as Al Hokair, Al-Ghurair, Global Village, Al Futtaim and Ezdan Group have been using Vemco´s platform for several years. 

Vemcount monitors occupancy levels in store to a high degree of accuracy, allowing for effective predictive and real-time management in a wide range of spaces, including supermarkets, pharmacies, government centers, religious buildings, public transport, hotels, parks, retail units and gyms. The software works via sensors placed at entrances that automatically count customers entering and leaving the space. This data is fed through to Vemcount, so the total customer occupancy is continually updated in real-time, with the actual occupancy figure and percentage of total occupancy displayed on a screen at the front of the store. The occupancy count can also be embedded on websites and apps, to be reviewed by customers before leaving home, as well as helping security and employees to keep a vigilant eye on occupancy.

In addition to notifying customers, alerts can be pushed to staff and security at a set occupancy number, even triggering the closure of automatic entrance doors. Store management can also use Vemcount to monitor, run reports and analyze footfall and occupancy data to better predict and plan peak visit times.

Additionally, the team has developed a social distancing software tool for public queues. By monitoring the distance between customers, alerts and notifications can be sent when customers encroach social distancing rules. Highly accurate, it has been fine-tuned by programmers to measure partners or families as groups to avoid false alerts. Keeping a safe social distance and enabling people to avoid gathering in larger groups can help communities work together to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Anel Turkanovic, CEO of Vemco Group appreciates the opportunities that the cooperation with SDU and the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute gives. He comments: “It is rewarding for us to collaborate so closely with a university, allowing us a unique opportunity to test new technologies. Hopefully we can all soon return to a normal functioning everyday life, but before that, it is simply fantastic to be able to contribute to society with new initiatives that support the authorities’ recommendations.” 

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