Design Challenge

#1: How might we keep our communities in Singapore safe and healthy during the global COVID-19 pandemic?

Project Description

Ever headed down to a supermarket and realised what you wanted is out of stock? Unhappy about the crowd and restricted entrance to Fairprice? Fret no more, GroceryHunt will be there to save your day! GroceryHunt will tentatively be a web application platform which provides residents real-time information on the groceries inventory level and real-time crowd level indication . With GroceryHunt, worries about “hunting” for groceries will be gone, as it facilitates efficient and convenient groceries shopping experiences for Singaporeans.

Criteria #1: Value

Panic buying is a problem that arose during COVID-19. COVID-19 has disrupted food trade in the world including food and agricultural products. Singapore lacks natural resources and depends largely on exported food items. Panic buying makes the situation worse with food wastage, crowded supermarkets and sudden inflation of food prices. NTUC Fairprice has recently enforced crowd control where customers have to queue in order to enter. However, it may not be convenient to queue for long hours. Our solution aims to facilitate groceries shopping among Singaporeans by providing real-time inventory and crowd level information of supermarkets to users.

Criteria #2: Inspiration

We propose GroceryHunt in response to the current panic buying trend and the pain of waiting in a long queue. The idea of monitoring real-time crowd level at supermarkets was inspired by the SpaceOut web application platform which monitors crowd levels at malls created by URA. Monitoring real-time inventory in supermarkets was inspired by StockVUE’s inventory monitoring system where IoT sensors monitored stock level and information is retrieved from the Cloud database when the inventory data is viewed through the user’s application. We fuse both of ideas to suit our objective of helping our community to shop efficiently and safely.

Criteria #3: Impact

Our target audience are young adults to middle aged people who usually visit supermarkets in person to get their groceries.

Through our GroceryHunt web application, the following are the list of benefits to our prospective users:
– Avoid crowds
– Making a more informed decision on which supermarket to visit
– Save time by not having to endure long queues to get into the supermarkets
– Prevent wasted trips when the items they are looking for has run out especially in this season when people should minimise going out as much as possible.

Criteria #4: Timeliness

The team is certain that our proposed idea will be implemented within 6 months.

Tentative timeline:

May – June
1. Rapid prototyping

June – August
2. Contact relevant stakeholders
3. Inventory monitoring database
4. Deploying IoT sensors
5. Backend development
6. Front end web development of inventory tracking feature

August – November
7. Database for crowd level monitoring
8. Developing technology to capture crowd level and connect to the database
9. Front end development of crowd level monitoring feature

November – December
10. Testing and maintenance

Minimal time is foreseen for users to learn how to use the user-friendly application. Moreover, all team members have some exposure in working for IT related projects.

Criteria #5: Systems Thinking

Currently, there are measures to enforce social distancing in supermarkets such as 1m distance guideline marks and restricted entrance. Our solution will ensure that customers have a more pleasant shopping experience as they can just avoid going to the supermarket at peak periods.This application complements well with URA’s Space Out by focusing on the crowd levels specifically in the supermarkets. Moreover, we aim to show the stock availability of items in all supermarkets within the neighbourhood of one’s home. Pertaining to the function of checking groceries inventory, we don’t foresee any conflict of ideas with the current measures.