Chai Point employs AI-based facial recognition to streamline loyalty programme

chai-point-fb Representational image | via Facebook

Bengaluru-based start-up Chai Point has come up with an innovative technology that leverages the technological prowess of facial recognition along with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to efficiently offer its loyalty programme.

The AI-based facial recognition system, which has been launched at the company's 100th outlet in the country in Bengaluru, will help the company grant its loyalty programme—PrioriTea—that requires identification of customers at the joints in a more streamlined manner. Currently, the person at the billing counter asks a customer for the phone number which is entered in the system while doing the transaction. This process will be replaced by the facial recognition system.

Once a customer gives an order during the first visit to a Chai Point outlet, she/he can opt for getting her/his image clicked at the billing counter. During subsequent visits to the outlet, the system will recognise the customer.

Amuleek Singh Bijral, co-founder and CEO, Chai Point, told THE WEEK that their regular customers find it inconvenient to share their phone numbers multiple times, and a few customers are not comfortable with sharing their phone numbers. He said sometimes it so happens that the phone numbers are miscommunicated due to background noise or music in the store.

“We have close to around one million customers on our loyalty programme. This AI-based facial recognition system will be able to identify our customers with the click of a button. This system is also expected to make the whole loyalty programme friction-less for our customers. Though facial recognition technology has been around for a while, its combination with AI will improve its accuracy drastically. AI also makes face recognition more practical as customers often have different emotions on their face. A customer will be able to leverage our AI based system to get an enhanced experience. The ambiance of our store should have proper lighting to capture the images and we are also in the process of revisiting our existing stores as to how we can implement this system there.” said Bijral.

The company will be storing all these images on a secured Amazon cloud storage and it has tied up with AWS (Amazon Web Services) for the same. “Complete privacy will be maintained and no one else will be able to retrieve these images. These images will be completely secure on the system. By capturing the mood of the person through AI, we expect that in the future the system will be able to recommend our customers different menus depending on their mood,” remarked Bijral.

This tech-savvy company plans to have this AI-based system at all the outlets it is planning to open in the country in the near future. Currently, the company has more than 60 outlets in Bengaluru alone and the rest are spread across Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad. It is planning to open at least 40 more outlets during this financial year 2018-19. The company has an in-house Research and Development (R&D) team that is working to develop all their systems in house including this facial recognition system.

Founded in 2010, Chai Point has grown to become one of the major organised tea companies in India. It is an omnichannel company with stores, delivery and fresh milk based dispenser platform called boxC as its operating channels. Interestingly its boxC, is an IoT (Internet of Things) enabled dispenser and has close to 2,000 active installations. The company also has an in-house develop proprietary cloud based platform called SHARK.