Google Cloud Introduces Shelf Inventory AI Tool for Retailers

Google Cloud said Friday its algorithm can recognize and analyze the availability of consumer packaged goods products on shelves from videos and images provided by the retailer’s own ceiling-mounted cameras, camera-equipped self-driving robots or store associates. The tool, which is now in preview, will become broadly available in the coming months, it said

Tesco experimented with something similar (if more limited in coverage) about a decade ago. “Broccoli-cam”. Internally developed, just a camera pointed at the shelf area which displayed the Broccoli (which, along with Bananas, is a “never our of stock” item, and thus is an indicator of whether the produce area is being properly managed in the location within day. Image recognition to assess stock levels and turn into an alert.

Technically a success but didn’t have enough of a business case for a wider rollout.