Self-driving grocery stores, AI checkout machines … Etisalat Digital offers glimpse into the future of retail at GITEX 2018
October 18, 2018
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Etisalat Digital truly embraced the future of retail at this year’s GITEX Technology Week, offering a seamless shopping experience through face recognition, artificial intelligence, image recognition and computer vision technologies.  Some of the retail shopping experiences featured at Etisalat’s stand include a self-driving grocery store, robotic shopping cart that leads visitors to the grocery isle, a smart dressing room that recommends fashion apparel, a smart vending machine, a state-of-the-art unmanned cash counters and self-checkouts.

This year visitors could witness the world’s first self-driving grocery store, ‘Robomart’ which takes the idea of grocery delivery to a new level. Just tap a button and the entire store comes to you so that you can shop checkout free for the freshest goods right at your doorstep. ‘Robomarts’ are fully electric road vehicles engineered with cutting-edge technology, including driverless tech for autonomy, tele-operations for safety, a check-out free system, and a purpose-built refrigeration for cooling.

Etisalat showcased new autonomous retail solutions using technologies such as AI and computer vision, which can detect products taken or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in your virtual cart. Showcased for the first time globally, it has no cash registers, as customers can simply pick out what they fancy and walk out. Shoppers no longer have to wait in line at the till – they enter, take the product that they want and leave.

One of the highlights at Etisalat stand’s retail zone is the ‘Unattended Store’, considered the most sought-after innovation in today’s marketplace. The key here is to optimize the shopping through AI. Currently, most unattended stores use RFID technology, which has limitations in terms of recognition.

The ‘AI Cooler’, which adopts a pure-vision solution and uses two cameras to dynamically recognize the actions of taking items out and putting them back, provides a real ‘take and go’ check-out experience. Consumers just need to scan the QR code on the cooler’s door (or swipe their face) to open it. They can pick up any item, and the payment will be made automatically after the door is closed.

Another major highlight was the ‘AI Checkout Machine’, where customers just need to put their items on the check-out counter without having to look for the barcodes or distinguishing items from non-standard ones. The screen will directly display the prices of their items, and they can pay for their purchases using mobile payment methods.

Etisalat has joined forces with 12 technology partners for store analytics and insights, combining its capabilities to connect data and gain practical learnings that they can share with its customers and the retail community.  Alberto Araque,  Vice President, Internet of Things & Digital Payments said: “ Etisalat Digital said: “This year the ‘Future of Retail’ will give visitors an exceptional experience and take them on a futuristic journey of path breaking technologies and solutions. The aim of these innovative showcases was to give our consumers a glimpse of the future and how these digital innovations can make an impact on their lives. This is also in line with our overall theme at the event of ‘Driving the digital future to empower societies’.”

by Anil George
Avid follower of all things tech. In between his quest for the ultimate gizmo, Anil fiddles with light meters, collects rare books and feeds his fetish for Jap horror movies. As Managing Editor of T3 Middle East for the GCC, Anil oversees content direction across print and digital. He is a CES 2020 Innovation Awards Judge, reprising his role as an Innovation Awards Judge at CES 2018, CES 2017, 2016. and 2015. Anil is also the Middle East's first Brand Ambassador for Ashdown Engineering. Reach him at: editor@t3me.com.
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