Investors: Press Release
GeckoSystems Eyeing Retail Loss Prevention Market for Mobile Robot Solutions
CONYERS, GA, Apr 15, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- GeckoSystems Intl. Corp. (PINKSHEETS: GOSY) announced today that their recent invention of the GeckoImager(TM), in concert with their proprietary "Mobile Robot Solutions for Safety, Security and Service(TM)," enables the creation of assistant sales clerk mobile robots, or AscBots(TM), "to inform and observe(TM)" shoppers in retail environments. GeckoSystems is a dynamic leader in the emerging mobile robotics industry revolutionizing their development and usage.
The strategic business need addressed by GeckoSystems' AscBot is to enhance the in-store shopper's experience to strategically position the retailer as better and different than their competitors. This will enable them to enjoy margins greater than their competitors while maintaining desired market share. This type of strategic marketing positioning is necessary to increase gross sales while reducing overall operational costs to increase net profits. Simultaneously, while increasing sales with in-store assistance and product promotions, the AscBot's mobile and intelligent video surveillance systems would dramatically reduce shrinkage due to internal and external theft. Simply stated, GeckoSystems AscBot would "inform and observe(TM)" in retail stores.
GeckoSystems' proposed AscBot would be similar to a traditional customer service kiosk, but more cost-effective due to its mobility while providing intelligent, theft deterrent video surveillance. Product location service would be provided using graphical touch screen input with verbal and/or visual outputs. This AscBot benefit would interface with point-of sale (POS) store inventory control systems for location, pricing, and special offers available.
Product promotion would be verbal, visual and/or printed like an automated kiosk, but with self-guided, automatic mobility to be proximate to the consumer to enhance their shopping experience. Automatic printing of coupons as appropriate for the customer would enhance the shopper's experience by introducing new products, existing product specials, closeouts, etc. GeckoChat(TM) would enunciate product benefits, and videos of product benefits would be played. The onboard printer of the AscBot would print product sales literature with features and benefits and large print versions of normally fine print legally required notifications.
The AscBot would also function as an automated anti-shoplifting observation system for a specific product, single or multiple aisle video surveillance. This would minimize blind spots typically inherent with fixed video surveillance systems and each AscBot could have one or more video cameras. These mobile cameras can be readily repositioned depending on changing, seasonal displays. The AscBot would use environment sensory system and distance proximity analyses for "actionable situational awareness" to invoke proprietary AI expert system paradigms for beneficial emergent behaviors. For example, the AscBot would automatically maintain a preset distance to shoppers per designated area for deterrence and enhanced video surveillance. The GeckoSavant AI software architecture can be integrated with off board facial recognition software to identify prior shoplifting suspects. The AscBot can automatically notify store management when probable shoplifting behaviors and/or persons are identified in pre-designated at-risk areas. The AscBot will readily integrate with existing video over IP surveillance systems.
The AscBot will be able to text designated store employees automatically and/or with verbal cell phone alerts. GeckoChat enables direct verbal interaction with the AscBot's for command and control on a contemporaneous basis.
The development of the AscBot will make extensive use of existing GeckoSystems technologies originally developed for the CareBot. While the AscBot will require a superset of the existing GeckoSystems capabilities, the additional functions required by the AscBot are currently available in off-the-shelf products that can be easily integrated into the existing GeckoSavant(TM) architecture.
Automatic self-navigation in a retail environment is closely related to navigation in the home environment, but not nearly as difficult as the CareBot's typical fragile and tight home environment. The existing GeckoNav savant is therefore well-suited for use in a retail environment. The autopilot seek function of GeckoNav allows the AscBot to approach customers once they have been identified. The Patrol function allows the AscBot to move up and down an aisle or between multiple aisles and be "on station" when no customers are present. From the very beginning, GeckoNav has been designed with safety as a primary concern. Of course this is a major requirement when placing a mobile service robot in a public location.
The locomotion system designed for the CareBot is also well-suited to the retail environment. The smooth floors designed for traversal by a shopping cart should present no difficulties for the existing locomotion system. The GeckoMotorDriver(TM) will be utilized on the AscBot to power the differential drive motors. The AscBot will also make use of the newly revised and enhanced GeckoMotorController. The higher top speeds and increased control granularity enabled by the recent revision of this technology are both very important for its usage in the AscBot.
GeckoImager will be incorporated in the AscBot to provide the sensor data necessary for navigation. The update rate provided by GeckoImager is sufficient to allow for navigation among moving people. GeckoImager can also be readily extended to incorporate additional sensors to provide 360-degree coverage. This additional information would be used to enhance the AscBot's situational awareness and allow for faster navigation in the tight quarters of a store aisle crowded with customers.
GeckoTrak will provide the ability to follow and/or track customers in an aisle. Upgrades and extensions to GeckoTrak are planned to tailor it to the retail environment. This capability allows the AscBot to approach customers in the aisle in order to interact with them. It will be able to store personnel of a customer that may need additional assistance or is behaving suspiciously by loitering too long.
The speech recognition and synthesis capabilities of GeckoChat will also be a vital part of the AscBot. This capability allows customers to interact with the mobile robot kiosk, asking it questions about sales, products, or the store. Customers will be able to use the AscBot to request assistance from a store clerk. GeckoChat is designed to allow modification of the words and phrases used for both recognition and synthesis with little effort. Adding the appropriate words and phrases to a database is all that is required to allow GeckoChat to be used on the AscBot.
GeckoScheduler(TM) can be used to activate the AscBot when the store opens and put it into a dormant state at closing time. Timely messages such as warnings regarding store closing can also be initiated using GeckoScheduler. Patrol patterns or behaviors of the robot can be modified based on the time of day appropriate.
The interactive display will be provided by a touch screen or by a tablet PC. The touch screen can either be connected to an existing onboard computer or a full point-of-sale system. Any of these three options can be readily connected to the AscBot's onboard network to interface with the other GeckoSystems savants. This display allows the AscBot to show targeted advertising or product information. The touch screen will allow the customer to browse store information or print coupons.
Presently existing receipt printer technology can be used to provide on-demand coupon printing on the AscBot. These devices typically interface using RS232 serial, USB or Ethernet connections, all of which can be supported using current GeckoSystems technology. The GeckoSPIO's power management capabilities can be used to turn the printer off when no customers are nearby, reducing power consumption.
Additional cameras may be added to enhance the surveillance capability. Both USB and Ethernet based cameras can be added to the AscBot without any modifications to existing systems. These cameras can interface with on-site fixed IP security camera systems by connecting the AscBot to the store's existing network.
Interfacing with these various devices is made possible by the robustness and extensibility of the GeckoSystems' software and hardware architecture. By utilizing a combination of onboard computers and the GeckoSPIO, a wide array of connection types and protocols are supported. Devices such as printers, screens, Bluetooth enabled devices, WiFi devices, and Ethernet based devices can all be interfaced with the onboard computers. Devices that communicate using analog, I2C, SPI, or RS232 serial can also be interfaced with the GeckoSPIO.
The GeckoSystems software architecture is designed to allow for easy addition of new devices or software. Any new device can immediately communicate with any device on the network once it is interfaced with the GeckoSuper. We have recently exercised this capability with the addition of the GeckoImager savant. This modular and flexible proprietary software and software architecture is what makes GeckoSystems' technology unique from most other mobile robot companies. It gives GeckoSystems a definitive competitive advantage in the marketplace.
"The AscBot is an extraordinary opportunity to introduce an innovative product of tremendous benefit to both retailer and consumer. I look forward to working on the extensions to our existing technologies and integration of new devices that will enable us to bring this cutting edge, cost-reducing product to retailers," summarized Kevin O'Connor, Sr. EE Roboticist, GeckoSystems.
The security systems services industry in the US includes about 5,000 companies with combined annual revenue of around $14 billion. Major companies include ADT Security Services (owned by Tyco International), Protection One, and Broadview Security (formerly Brink's Home Security). IBM, HP and NCR are but three of the most noteworthy giants in the retail POS hardware and software industry.
"We recently anecdotally learned that some grocery stores suffer $100,000 per month in shrinkage. If our proposed AscBot reduces that figure by only 25%, the AscBot would pay for itself in an astonishing 2 to 3 months. This heralds to the initial industrial robot application of car painting and the dramatic reduction in repainting 1 out of 4 of all new cars. Due to that reality in the late 1960s and early 1970s, industrial robot manufacturers, such as Unimation, could not build their robots fast enough to meet demand in the automotive industry.
"We are very pleased with the hard work, long hours, and many years invested by our team of engineers and programmers to produce our 'mobile robot solutions for safety, security, and service(TM).' Once again we witness that our suite of proprietary technologies is not only appropriate for the consumer, and professional healthcare markets, but also the business-to-business market place of commercial security loss prevention. This new B2B market niche augurs well for increased ROI and shareholder value for our nearly 1400 investors," concluded Spencer.
Loss Prevention Industry Highlights:
Loss Prevention is the concept of establishing policies, procedures and business practices to prevent the loss of inventory or monies in a retail environment.
Internal (employee) theft is the largest contributor to loss for most retailers, regardless of size or segment. Although some may wonder why employee theft would be the largest category of loss, hands down, every survey, study and comparison across segments has shown time and time again that those who steal from a business the most are employees. Employee theft occurs through many different methods. From simple merchandise theft to collusion with friends or other store employees, inventory losses by employees easily deplete profits (and the merchandise available for sale to customers).
Internal theft occurs most frequently when they are unobserved by fixed surveillance video cameras, or other, trustworthy employees. The AscBot would diminish these kinds of opportunities since automatic and vigilant in those areas at greatest risk.
External theft is often caused by shoplifting, break-ins, robberies or other acts by outside sources. Although it does not cause as much loss overall compared to internal theft, shoplifting and external theft most certainly causes a substantial amount of loss annually to the retail industry. In today's world, it is critical for retailers to have their point-of-sale system synchronized with their video surveillance so issues can be identified and incidents quickly analyzed.