Shell invests in safety with Azure, AI, and machine vision

>>Retail is a key engine of the Shell group. We have 30 million customers everyday in one of our branded stations somewhere along the world. We are in over 70 markets.>>Shell’s retail goal for safety is linked to Goal Zero, making sure that every visit to every site is done in a safe way, and our customers and our staff are safe at all times. Our retail sites are exposed to safety risks ranging from a vehicle hitting someone, theft, smoking, also things like wrong refueling behaviors.>>Being able to detect those in near-time and potentially intervene could be very, very beneficial for us. Historically, we haven’t been able to analyze our video footage in its entirety. It’s very manually labor-intensive to try to analyze the hours of CCTV footage that we capture on our retail sites every day. With computer vision, we can take observations in our physical assets and we can straight away derive insight from them. We’ve developed a collection of machine learning models that operate both at the edge and in the cloud. We can identify events of interest at the edge in near-time. We can pass those into the cloud for tight processing, and we can use the cloud to provide near-time alerting. The Azure cloud is powering this transformation. We’re now able to take a lot of the platform as a service offerings that Azure gives us, things like IoT Hub and Azure Databricks, combine them with open source technology like TensorFlow and Kafka, and bring that together into a solution quickly. What deep learning gives us is the ability to firstly filter that footage and find events that might be interesting for people to review more closely, but it also allows us to use that same information as labeled footage to train our algorithms and continuously improve.>>Instead of a snapshot after an event, it would be a 24/7 ongoing, near real-time data feed that will help us conduct our operations far more safely, and that’s wonderful.>>The insights we’re getting from this gives the Service Champion a third pair of eyes, which we didn’t have before.>>We’re right at the early stages of the pilot. If we can leverage this technology at scale, we can start to change the way that we do business. That means making things more effective, reducing cost, and also improving safety. That’s great for us. It’s a huge opportunity.

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