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.


Two thirds of UK employees not empowered enough to innovate

18 March 2019

A culture of equality can drive innovation at work, but only a third of UK employees feel empowered to innovate at present. This demonstrates a significant disconnect between workers and their bosses in the UK, with 76% of business leaders also claiming they empower employees to be innovative.

Despite innovation increasingly being seen as integral to the survival of businesses, innovation remains relatively difficult to achieve. A lagging disconnect between management and staff remains the driving force behind this. One study by PA Consulting previously confirmed that while 66% of companies believe they will not survive without innovation, only 24% said they had the skills needed for that, and only half thought they had the right leadership in place to change that in time.

In order to find a way around this problem, global consultancy Accenture has completed its own study into innovation, polling around 700 bosses and workers across the UK to do so. The key finding of the research is that companies with a culture of equality can see an individual’s willingness and ability to innovate improved by seven times that of the least equitable workplace cultures. At the same time, an innovation mindset is almost twice as high in the most-equal companies as in typical ones.

91% of employees want to innovate but just 34% in typical United Kingdom companies feel empowered to

What remains clear, however, is that most companies are failing to adequately create an equal culture, where staff of all ranks feel comfortable contributing new ideas. 91% of employees want to innovate but just 34% in typical UK companies feel empowered to. That is higher in the most equal companies, where 75% of staff feel confident making suggestions, compared to just 5% of the least equal, and 34% of typical companies. Since those equal companies are comparatively fewer, when averaged out, only a third of UK staff feel they are empowered to innovate.

That figure stands in stark contrast to the perceptions of UK executives, however.  76% of business leaders in Britain believe that they do indeed regularly empower their employees to innovate. As a result, it seems that leaders mistakenly believe that some circumstances encourage innovation more than they actually do. For instance, they overestimate financial rewards and underestimate purpose.

The opportunity which is presented by addressing this divorce is enormous. Accenture calculates that global gross domestic product would increase by up to £6 trillion over 10 years if the innovation mindset in all countries were raised by 10%.Top 10 workplace culture factors - by strength of impact on innovation mindsetAccording to Accenture, the best way to impact positively on a company’s innovation mindset is through the provision of relevant training – associated with a 10.5% uplift to staff’s confidence innovating. Allowing the freedom for employees to be creative followed, contributing an 8.1% boost, while ensuring that training times are flexible and the firm allows a healthy work-life balance both see a more than 7% improvement. Similarly, remote working being available and being common practice will buoy creativity by 6.9% – further demonstrating the importance of flexible working to improve innovation culture at a firm.

Commenting on the report, Rebecca Tully, executive sponsor for Human Capital and Diversity for Accenture in the UK and Ireland, said, “Our research reveals that a workplace culture of equality is an overlooked driver of innovation within companies. By understanding what motivates their employees and fostering an environment where people feel empowered, business leaders have the opportunity to unleash the innovation required to compete effectively in an era of disruption.”

The research came as part of a global survey by Accenture, which queried more than 18,000 professionals in 27 countries and 150 C-suite executives in eight countries. The overall research determined that an empowering environment is by far the most important of the three culture-of-equality categories in increasing an innovation mindset, which consists of six elements: purpose, autonomy, resources, inspiration, collaboration and experimentation. The more empowering the workplace environment, the higher the innovation mindset score.