One of the more practical effects of the Internet of Things is the ability to get shoppers out of stores more quickly.
The most visible of the easy-shopping experiences is Amazon Go, the store with cameras and sensors where consumers can skip the cashier and have their Amazon account charged after they leave the store.
Others are now getting into the act. For example, Standard Market in San Francisco uses overhead cameras to track shoppers and products, and shoppers are charged via the Standard checkout app after they leave the store, as demonstrated in a company video.
Another retailer, Ricker’s, is rolling out a hybrid of mobile pay and Amazon Go in 58 of its convenience stores in Indiana. In this case, Ricker’s is using Skip, the maker of a mobile self-checkout app, but the result is the same: the consumer bypasses a checkout line.
Now Zebra Technologies has created a personal shopping tool, so shoppers can scan items as they go and then skip the checkout line. Shopping lists also can be downloaded to the app.
From a consumer’s perspective, the technologies appear seamless, but there’s much going on behind the scenes.
In Amazon Go stores, for example, sensors are tracking products on shelves, cameras are tracking people, and all of this is technologically glued together.
For the Zebra system, called PS20, the location technology uses proximity sensors and Visible Light Communication (VLC), where a phone’s front-facing camera detects LEDs and in-store lighting to fuel machine learning algorithms for retailers to better understand consumer movements throughout their stores. This is leading edge.
The more IoT technology advances, the more seamless it starts to appear. What does become visible to consumers are the results. Many consumers may not notice the advances in IoT technology, but they may greatly appreciate the ease of ending their shopping trip.