New service makes queuing while shopping less frustrating

27 January 2016

Cambridge Consultants has developed a new queuing monitoring system that allows users not only to choose the shortest shopping line in the store, but to select the fastest moving one, helping them to get serviced faster and avoid frustrations.

Every shopper knows the feeling: frustration of joining the ‘wrong’ queue in a store, especially if you just changed queues in the hope to be serviced earlier. To help shoppers prevent this feeling, and hereby making shopping more fun, design and development firm Cambridge Consultants has devised an innovative queue monitoring service, dubbed ZipLine.

The ZipLine technology allows shoppers to see where they will be serviced first, even if this is on a different floor, by identifying the shortest lines and analysing which queues are the fastest moving ones. The service is able to coop with irregular queues that snake round shop displays, which is according to the consulting firm a unique feature of the queue monitoring system. ZipLine uses infrared sensors to detect the number of people in a queue and the speed of these people moving forward in the line.

Cambridge Consultants develops new queuing service

The system solely works on sensors sensitive to body heat, without recording or identifying individuals, as a result of which there are no privacy issues. The sensors are connected to a long-range, low-power radio network and a set of algorithms that convert the raw data into useful information, which ultimately will be displayed on a shopper’s phone. “We’re all familiar with the supermarket checkout dilemma of trying to pick not just the shortest but the fastest queue – and the frustration when you get it wrong,” explains Tim Ensor, Head of Connected Devices at Cambridge Consultants. “But how can you choose the fastest option when you can’t see the other cash desks or changing rooms? ZipLine gives you the answer via a simple web interface on your smartphone.”

The ZipLine technology is not limited to inside the store as it can be used over distances of several kilometres. This allows users to monitor queues at for instance taxi stands and coffee shops, places they might want to go next.