Innovation is at the heart of what we do at Auror. It’s how we continue to meet and exceed the needs of our partners, and provide solutions to help them keep their stores and communities safe.
That’s why we want to give our team the space to create without constraint, explore new technologies, and validate ideas.
So in March 2023, we spent a full week working on creative and unique ideas that could help our retail partners reduce crime, harm, and loss in their stores.
Here is the why and how behind Auror Innovation Week ‘23.
Why Auror Innovation Week is important
At any given point we have several product teams work on new or improving existing functionality and building capabilities that will allow users to be more effective in their roles within an AP/LP organization. Some recent examples of this capability are:
- Automatic video retrieval
- AI-powered system suggested merges
- The creation of a public API (Application Programming Interface) to unlock the power of a connection ecosystem
Each of these required innovative thinking, starting with a problem experienced by users and creating product experiences to make it as easy and efficient as possible. And while it’s our teams of engineers, designers, quality assurance, and product managers that bring it all to life, every single person at Auror plays a part in this innovation.
Upon reflection on the way that we are incorporating innovation into our day-to-day, we see that we’re only scratching the surface. If only 10% of our time was spent innovating, what could be achieved if that was turned up to 20% or even 50%?
Innovation is a creative endeavour, a process of rapid experimentation, failing and then learning from that to try something new. This isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone.
So we knew that if we wanted to level up, we had to invest in the team and provide the time and space to explore new ideas and technologies.
The values underpinning innovation at Auror
What separates the good software companies from great? There’s likely a dozen answers to that question, but at Auror we focus on three key areas.
One, being customer obsessed and being relentless in our focus on partnering with them to solve their challenges.
Two, our people. Having a culture of high care and high performance where every person gets to do their best work.
And finally, three, having a product that people love to use and that is continuously improving. This allows our users to focus their time and efforts where it’s needed the most, which is to identify the 10% of people that are causing 60% of the harm in their stores.
We believe that when you bring these three elements together there’s no limit to what you can achieve as a company.
How Innovation Week worked
We created four principles for Innovation Week. While the outcome of the week was to create innovation projects, we wanted the team to connect with others and build stronger relationships, or start new ones, with people across the wider team.
The entire product squad was invited to join in the fun, this included engineers, product managers, designers, quality assurance and data and AI experts. In our day-to-day work it’s the entire team that’s responsible for delivering the Auror product, so we wanted to ensure all those folks were a part of Innovation Week.
Anyone across the company could contribute ideas to be worked on. People could then self select to their own, or someone else’s idea, and pull in others to form a team around a given idea.
Every team had to present their journey of innovation back with the entire company and share what they’d worked on.
Innovation Week projects
17 teams formed for the week to explore an idea and figure out how to make magic happen. The ingenuity and creativity that was showcased in the solutions that the teams came up with in just 4 days was truly inspiring. From leveraging new AI technology to tackling the biggest pain points for our users, the teams each approached their ideas with a single focus on making things better.
We can’t talk about all of the innovation projects here, but we’ll touch on a few to give you a taste of what the teams achieved.
The challenge: To optimize maps in the Auror platform so they tell a fuller story of where retail crimes are happening.
The solution: Instead of static maps in the platform, create dynamic maps that show patterns of movement and events happening in sequence. For an investigation with multiple events we can now show the location of each event on a map and overlay additional data sets that can highlight patterns of behavior and other areas of interest.
We want to show retailers’ other locations, based on our belief that crime networks are impacting more stores than are being detected by loss prevention teams. If we see two stores being hit, there’s a possibility that the stores between those two may also have been targeted, but not reported.
As a result, those stores can then go check their footage and stock. For retailers that have license plate recognition integrated with Auror we can further enhance this insight by adding sightings of vehicles related to the crime events in the investigation.
Speech to event
The challenge: To make it easier and quicker to report information about an event in the platform.
The solution: Enable users to open the Auror mobile app and quickly narrate the crime that has just happened and have that automatically create a draft event that can be reviewed and published later.
The team leveraged the latest advancements in generative AI, utilizing GPT-4 to extract key information from the spoken narrative and map it to Auror’s highly structured data model. The model was trained to recognize key details about the event such as the type of crime, date and time and where the event occurred. It can also extract detailed information about the people, vehicles, and products involved in the event.
For store based users, being able to quickly and accurately record an event while you’re on the go means that valuable detail is not forgotten and they can focus on their task at hand.
The challenge: Identify the groups of people that are causing significant amounts of loss that are not currently being investigated.
The solution: As Auror continues to expand and onboard new retail organizations, the amount of data in our platform also grows. A core part of the software is AI that identifies connections between events, people, and vehicles that are being added. By connecting these entities together we start to form a network that can be analyzed and tracked over time.
During Innovation Week the team created a way to identify the networks that are causing significant amounts of loss and harm in the community, as well as a way to highlight to the retailers that they should investigate further. Now with the click of a single button a new investigation can be launched that includes all the people, events, vehicles and relevant evidence related to the identified network.
This game-changing innovation is not only creating massive efficiency, but more importantly it’s assisting retailers in investigating the groups that are causing the most harm and loss within their organization.
The challenge: In a live shooter situation how can we help to provide key information to the retail security team and law enforcement in real-time?
The solution: A vehicle comes into your carpark. The vehicle is associated with a person that has previously been reported as carrying a weapon. Immediately the SOC and store security receive an alert that this vehicle and high risk person has come on site. From the alert the user can select to “go-live” on the camera that picked up the vehicle coming in. Within Auror our users can see where the individual is on site and can switch between cameras to monitor their movements, relay critical information to team members on site, as well as law enforcement that may be en route.
What happens next?
It was inspiring to see what the teams came up with in such a short amount of time and many of these ideas have already been prioritized to help make Auror more efficient. A lot of value that was uncovered during Innovation Week will be brought to life in the coming months.
So, was Innovation Week ‘23 a success? Yes, no doubt.
But the better question is: how do we take the learnings from this week and embed them into our everyday work so that we can see more of this innovation on a daily basis? How do we make sure to release more value to our users, faster than ever before, without compromising on quality?
That’s a challenge we will keep working hard to find solutions for, while helping our partners around the world keep their stores and communities safe from crime.
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