A few months ago, COVID-19 came into our lives. Because of this virus, our daily lives have changed, including the way we shop. Before COVID-19, most people simply went to the nearest store to get their groceries or other essentials. However, according to a survey by McKinsey & Company, this has shifted. The average Belgian is now looking at other priorities, such as physical distancing and therefore, shopping online more.

Survey results (Source: McKinsey & Company)

As you can see, physical distancing, masks and sanitation have become top priority for most people. All of these reasons led to the birth of Telly, a virtual store agent. It all started with Edgise, a start-up company with Edge Engineers who were building a digital platform to connect edge devices.

The project had a customer, budget and the skill set and technical background to start to develop this. However, to handle Telly’s story they still needed one thing: a product owner. And that’s where TPO Agency came lurking around the corner. To be more precise, the role of the product owner was filled by Thomas Verhoef, one of our Co-Founders. With an open mindset, TPO Agency helped Edgise to give Telly that necessary push.

Match made in heaven

Edgise and TPO Agency are both ventures of Raccoons. With both companies on board, a team full of experts was easily formed. The idea originated from scratch, so the next important step is a so-called “experimental garden”. This is a place where you can get the opportunity to test, fail, learn and iterate. Luckily, Raccoons belongs to the Cronos group which enabled us to do exactly this. More importantly, Cronos wanted to support the project by testing Telly in their own buildings. And boy, did we learn from that!

The key factor to success is making a lot of mistakes. In the beginning, something went wrong every day. However, this made sure that the operational Telly that exists today is a fully working device. Telly will measure real-time customer activity so that you can inform your customers about your health and safety regulations. And wait... that’s not all! Telly can monitor COVID-19 restrictions as well. Basically, it scans a person when entering a store and tells them if they meet the restrictions. For example, Telly can tell if the person is wearing a mask or not and advise them to wear one.

Telly display

Telly keeps all user data private by performing all inferences locally. Eventually, if you want to use the anonymous data you can always decide to transfer the data. With this information, you can optimize staff planning and store flows. All of this will result in incredible customer satisfaction and operational savings.

For TPO Agency, this fast-paced, product-driven challenge, bathing in all these new technologies, is exactly the kind of project we love to embrace. Interested to learn more? Let’s talk!

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