Sony AI analyses 7-Eleven shoppers in Japan

  • April 29, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson

Around 500 7-Eleven convenience stores in Japan are using a Sony edge AI-driven vision detection system to improve the benefits of in-store advertising.

Sony Semiconductor has been providing 7-Eleven and other retail outlets in Japan with vision-based technology to improve the implementation of digital signage systems and in-store advertising at their brick-and-mortar locations as part of their retail media strategy. To help ensure effective content is shown for brands and stores, these tools evaluate the effectiveness of advertising on shoppers.

As part of this, Sony has recently introduced edge devices with on-sensor AI processing to detect automatically when shoppers see digital signage and count how many people paused to view it. The AI capabilities of the sensor collects data points such as the number of shoppers who enter the detection area, whether they saw the signage, the number who stopped to view the signage, and for how long they watched. The system does not output image data capable of identifying individuals, making it possible to provide insightful measurements while helping preserve privacy.

Sony’s IMX500 intelligent vision sensor with AI-processing capabilities automatically detects the number of shoppers who enter the detection area, the number who stopped to view the signage, and how long they viewed it. The acquired metadata (semantic information) are then sent to a back-end system where they are combined with content streaming information and purchasing data to conduct an analysis of advertising effectiveness.

The IMX500 is made using Sony’s proprietary structure with the pixel chip and logic chip stacked, enabling the entire process, from imaging to AI inference, to be done on a single sensor. Compact, IMX500-equipped 55 by 40 by 35mm edge devices are unobtrusive in shops and, compared with other products that require an AI box or other devices for AI inference, can be installed more flexibly in convenience stores and shops with limited space.

Only light metadata are output from IMX500 edge devices, reducing the amount of data transmitted to the cloud. This helps lessen network load, even when adding more devices in multiple stores, compared with products that send full image data to the cloud. This reduces communication, cloud storage and computing costs.

The IMX500 ( also handles AI computing, eliminating the need for other devices such as an AI box, resulting in a simple device configuration, streamlining device maintenance and reducing costs of installation.

Sony’s Aitrios edge AI sensing platform, which is used to build and operate the in-store offering, delivers a complete service without the need for third-party tools, enabling simple, sustainable operations.

This was developed with Console Enterprise Edition, one of the services offered by Aitrios, and is installed on 7-Eleven’s Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure. It not only connects easily and compatibly with its existing systems, but is also customisable and has security benefits, since there is no need to output various data outside the company.

Sony Semiconductor ( is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony and a specialist in image sensors.