Spacee shelf-mounted robots count inventory

illustration of the Spacee Deming rover
The Spacee Deming ROVR is designed to run fully enclosed within an aisle-long track, invisible to store patrons. | Credit: Spacee

Spacee launched a new version of its Deming shelf-mounted robots that feature live video feed capabilities, allowing retail store managers to see shelves and get real-time inventory snapshots remotely.

“There is a huge gap between what data retailers can collect in their e-commerce operations and what they can get from physical stores,” said Skip Howard, founder, and CEO of Spacee. “Spacee helps fill that gap with critical in-store customer and supply chain data. Our latest Deming robots now take it to the next level with live and recorded video feeds.”

Spacee’s unobtrusive Deming robots roam across shelves capturing inventory data. The robots measure 1″ x 1″ x 8″ (25mm x 25mm x 200mm), complete with an onboard, high-resolution camera. The robot is battery-powered and recharges itself at the end of the track.

Spacee takes pride in its roots as a vision company. The technology that it has brought together into the Deming solution is affordable while providing the necessary high-resolution imaging from both video and still images, to resolve product labels from up to 16 ft (4.8 m) away. The company is building a strong portfolio of international IP and patents for the applications that it is pursuing.

Spacee algorithms automatically exclude people who might be captured in an image, and as a result, the data created is GDPR compliant. The system can also generate 3D depth data using just a single camera, as the robot moves along it track and takes multiple images of the same scene from different locations. This enables the robot to “see” how many units are stacked behind on a retail shelf. This is the “magic” that it uses to count inventory.

While it can take several days for staff to capture inventory manually, and a full day for a floor robot, Deming can provide an accurate inventory accounting of an entire facility in under a minute. Deming installation requires just one tool and about 20-30 minutes per aisle.

The Deming ROVR is fully enclosed within its own track and images the products on the opposite shelf. | Credit: Spacee

Deming helps retailers improve supply chain efficiency, ensure Planogram compliance, reduce stockouts and waste, and reduce costs. It also provides critical inventory data for retailers who pick e-commerce orders out of stores.

For end caps and other regions of the store that might be out of view for the shelf-tracked Deming robots, Spacee has stationary-mounted cameras that can image a defined area. The data from these discrete cameras is integrated into the overall store inventory data.

Analytics software

Spacee provides an online dashboard for store clerks and store management to access inventory data gathered by the Deming ROVR. | Credit: Spacee

The Spacee analytics software provides a cloud-based access to all of your inventory data. The Deming ROVR collects data and can update information up to 3 times per hour.

The system doesn’t require a planogram to do its inventory function. But with a planogram, the system can provide planogram compliance.

For buy online pickup in store (BOPIS), the system provides data about what is in inventory on the store shelves in near real time. This enables an improved and accurate shopping experience for BOPIS shoppers.

The system can also do price and label integrity, enabling store managers to improve customer experience and avoid losses due to labeling issues.

“Supply chain challenges are making real-time inventory snapshots more crucial than ever,” added Howard. “Deming helps retailers get better visibility into what’s on their shelves, and what needs to be replenished from warehouses to reduce stockouts and keep customers happy. Deming’s new live video feeds will make it even simpler for district managers to quickly assess what help might be needed at each location, from anywhere.”

Deming provides accurate, near real-time data, and creates a video walkthrough that managers can view from anywhere. Retailers can use Deming just for video walkthroughs, or add extra capabilities such as inventory tracking.

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Written by

Mike Oitzman

Mike Oitzman is Senior Editor of WTWH's Robotics Group, cohost of The Robot Report Podcast, and founder of the Mobile Robot Guide. Oitzman is a robotics industry veteran with 25-plus years of experience at various high-tech companies in the roles of marketing, sales and product management. He can be reached at