Microsoft and Kroger are working together to compete with Amazon’s cash-less stores. The two companies are going to launch a shop automation platform on the market, which will be built on Microsoft Azure. Kroger has already started testing parts of the platform in a handful of stores, reports Silicon Angle.

A number of test locations have now been given smart shelves that display prices and other product information on digital screens. The smart shelves are supported by a network of sensors in the store, which are connected to an automated payment app that Kroger has developed.

Operation

Store customers can use the app to scan products. They then pay online and don’t have to queue up at the checkout. The app is also an in-store navigation tool. The app shares items from customers’ shopping lists with the smart shelves, which provide visual hints to help customers find the products. In addition, the shelves can provide information about what is in the food and how it fits into diets.

Microsoft also sees another possibility for the platform: streamlining the work of employees in the store. According to the company, the smart shelves can make it possible to adjust the prices automatically. They can also help employees find things faster when processing online orders. The platform’s visual hints can halve the time it takes to collect the requested goods, according to the company.

Furthermore, the platform should help in managing the store. At Kroger’s test sites there are cameras connected to Azure’s video analytics services, which keep an eye on the shelves. This determines when products need to be supplemented. Temperature sensors in the refrigerated compartments monitor the coolers to make sure that they remain at the right temperature.

Sales

Microsoft and Kroger plan to sell their platform to physical stores that now have difficulty keeping up with Amazon. Amazon itself would like to build three thousand cash-less Go stores in the United States and the United Kingdom, it was announced at the end of last year.

Kroger is also planning to use the platform itself. Kroger is the largest supermarket chain in the United States in terms of turnover. The chain has 2,800 stores in the country.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.