Published on January 14th, 2019 | by Emergent Enterprise0
How Automated Supermarkets are Shaping Up for 2019 and Beyond
It’s possible that automated shopping could bring buyers BACK to the brick and mortar store. Knowing that you don’t have to wait in line after choosing your products can be very enticing for the customer that prefers the haptic experience. Paul Sawers from venturebeat.com shares this update on automated retail.
Barely a week into 2019, and we’re already spotting some of the big technology trends of the year. True to form, the consumer electronics extravaganza that is CES shone a light on some of the quirkier “advances,” from connected toilets to custom 3D-printed insoles. But for every bonkers conception, we also glimpsed innovations we can expect to see more of throughout the year ahead. On that list: 5G will continue to snowball, AR/VR will gain steam, autonomous vehicle technology will improve, and smart assistants will get smarter.
But while the spotlight was fixed on CES, another major trend continued away from the bright lights of Las Vegas. Over the past couple of years, the futuristic “connected supermarket” concept has started to unfold, arguably kickstarted in late 2016 by Amazon Go, a connected grocery store with no checkouts. Using deep learning, computer vision, sensor fusion, and more, customers can walk into an Amazon Go outlet and automatically “check out” simply by picking items off the shelf.
Taking the fight to Amazon
This week, Microsoft and supermarket giant Kroger announced their very own data-driven connected grocery stores, with two locations now open for business in Ohio and Washington — near their respective headquarters. The pilot project will inform the extent of any future expansions, but this is very much a long-term plan to automate, optimize, and expedite the supermarket shopping experience with connected systems powered by Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.
A new digital shelving system that was announced last year and is already being rolled out to dozens of Kroger stores replaces paper price tags with digital incarnations that can be remotely changed in real time. The system can also display promotions, dietary information, and more. A typical use case could involve someone creating a shopping list through the Kroger app, which will then guide them around the store while shelf displays switch to a picture to make the item easier to spot.