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Microsoft reportedly developing cashier-free technology for retailers

By midian182 · 6 replies
Jun 14, 2018
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  1. Reuters reports that the Windows maker is developing a system similar to Amazon's that tracks what shoppers add to their carts as they walk around a store. The company has reportedly shown the technology to retailers around the world and has had talks with Walmart about a potential collaboration.

    Amazon finally opened its first automated Go store in Seattle last January, following a lengthy beta phase during which time it was only open to select Amazon employees. The “Just Walk Out Technology” uses a combination of cameras, machine learning, computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion to determine when customers pick up an item and place it in their basket. It even knows if something is returned to the shelf, should they change their mind. Once shoppers leave the premises, the total cost is automatically charged to their associated Amazon account.

    One obstacle Microsoft needs to overcome is making its technology cheap enough for retailers to consider it worth the investment. While we don't know any precise detials, it's possible that the system will incorporate the firm's Project Kinect for Azure sensors.

    The company already showcases the basics for automated checkout at its Retail Experience Center in Redmond.

    Reuters adds that Microsoft’s team, which includes a computer vision specialist hired from Amazon Go, have experimented with attaching cameras to carts to track items, and studied how smartphones can be used as part of the shopping experience.

    As is the case with many new technologies, there are concerns over what the introduction of cashier-less stores will mean for employees. Amazon still hires staff in its Go stores for stacking shelves, making prepared items, and security, but if Walmart ever does introduce Microsoft's version, it will likely affect some of its 1.5 million US workers.

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  2. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,587   +1,798

    I cant wait for this to backfire after someone figures out ow to bypass the cameras, and everybody starts taking everything for free.

    You know its gonna happen. As soon as budgets get in the way, things like IoT security go out the window.
  3. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Evangelist Posts: 578   +298

    Because it's as simple as just regular cameras....
  4. I'd be happy if they limit this to stopping shoplifting which, sadly is epidemic in my city and likely most places.
  5. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 824   +324

    There will be a reckoning with unavailable jobs and unskilled labor.
  6. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,619   +598

    90% of Americans used to toil in the fields as farmers, then the tractor was invented and we became a world power.
  7. James00007

    James00007 TS Booster Posts: 116   +14

    Yea or they update something and it breaks like everything else Microsoft do.

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