Amazon Go looks to IoT to eliminate queues at the checkout

Amazon Go looks to IoT to eliminate queues at the checkout

Amazon Go looks to IoT to eliminate queues at the checkout
Amazon Go looks to IoT to eliminate queues at the checkout

Sensors coupled with machine learning and cameras at the new Amazon Go store in Seattle could mean the end of workers at the till.

Online retailer giant Amazon has deployed IoT sensors, artificial intelligence (AI) and cameras in a new format bricks-and-mortar store that does away with checkouts.

Dubbed Amazon Go, the store allows customers to use a phone to make purchases with Amazon’s Go app. According to a web page on the retailer’s website, the checkout-free shopping experience uses computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning.

This combination of technologies automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When a customer is finished with their shopping, they can leave the store and their Amazon account is charged and a receipt sent.

“We created the world’s most advanced shopping technology so you never have to wait in line,” the company said. “With our Just Walk Out Shopping experience, simply use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products you want, and go! No lines, no checkout. (No, seriously.)”

Currently, the store sells ready-made breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options made onsite by chefs. It also stocks items such as bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates.

Beta testing Amazon Go

The 1,800-square foot store is located in Seattle. The store is currently limited to Amazon employees but the firm has promised that it will open to the public in early 2017.

Amazon has spent the last four years working on the concept store. “Could we push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning to create a store where customers could simply take what they want and go? Our answer to those questions is Amazon Go and Just Walk Out Shopping,” said Amazon in a statement.

While the store format does away with checkouts, it is unclear how the shop deals with shoplifting.

Related: Asda deploying IoT technologies for smarter retail stores

Death of the high street

Cameron Worth founder of UK IoT agency SharpEnd, told Internet of Business that commentators have been “moaning” about the death of the high street for a long time and what we are seeing here is Amazon taking the initiative.

“Amazon is feeding off the opportunity to provide a better customer service by refocusing their efforts back into bricks and mortar stores. This ‘digital first’ approach has transformed the service Amazon provides by leveraging the connectivity of the smartphone in real world situations. The real question here is, has Amazon got this right or have retailers been missing out on opportunities like this for too long?” he said.

Related: Whitepaper – What’s the future of IoT in retail?