Research Foundation News

April 8, 2020

A more personalized approach to improving customer experiences

oqullo-shopping Oqullo, a startup co-founded by two Purdue alumni, received support from the National Science Foundation to improve customer experiences. (Stock photo) Download image

Startup receives support from the National Science Foundation for customer analysis tool

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Computer visual algorithms shown to improve demographic information could bring a “personalized” experience to shopping, traveling and other consumer activities. The advancements come as more retailers, airlines and other businesses are collecting data about customers to better meet their needs.

Oqullo, a startup co-founded by Andrew Ulmer and Zohar Kapach, alumni of Purdue University’s College of Engineering, received a $219,000 Small Business Innovation Research Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation to support their work.

The startup’s newest project involves the use of computer visual algorithms and network cameras to obtain demographic information. Information such as age, gender, group status and shopping route can be monitored. Ulmer said no personally identifiable information can be gathered or stored on the platform.

“Managers of airports, cities and retail stores are typically aware of how many people are on their property, but lack information regarding the types of people on their property and how they interact with one another,” Ulmer said.

The startup won second place for its entrepreneurial prowess in the Burton D. Morgan Business Model Competition. The $15,000 prize is helping the startup team build the prototype.

Oqullo is placing cameras around Purdue Memorial Union to create a prototype.

“We are looking for demographic and foot traffic trends, such as age, gender and how foot-traffic behavior affects usage of property facilities such as outlets or kiosks,” Ulmer said.

Ulmer said the same algorithm technology could be expanded into areas such as agriculture to help monitor crops.

The Oqullo team received guidance from the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub housed in the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration in Purdue’s Discovery Park District, and Matthew Lynall, a clinical professor of management in Purdue’s Krannert School of Management. The team is looking for industry partners to further advance the technology.

About Purdue Foundry

The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. The Purdue Foundry is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org.

Writer: Chris Adam, 765-588-3341, cladam@prf.org  

Sources: Andrew Ulmer, ulmera@purdue.edu, oqullo.tech@gmail.com

Zohar Kapach, zkapach@purdue.edu


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