January 22, 2018

In the future, shopping in a store will look like shoplifting.

BBC reports on the Amazon Go store that's being tested in Seattle:
On entering the store, shoppers walk through gates similar to those in the London underground, swiping their smartphones loaded with the Amazon Go app. Then they are free to put any of the sandwiches, salads, drinks and biscuits on the shelves straight into their own shopping bags.

There's no need for a trolley or basket, since you won't be unpacking it again at the till... With the help of sensors on the shelves, items are added to customers' Amazon Go account as they pick them up - and delete any they put back. And an electronic receipt is issued as they exit....
Does it really work?
But there were some... problems with correctly identifying shoppers of similar body types - and children moving items to the wrong places on shelves, according to an Amazon insider.

36 comments:

Etienne said...

Getting rid of store employee's is one way to cut costs. But even greater, is getting rid of the store.

mockturtle said...

Walmart is doing this. Last time I was in one I noticed that all the carts were equipped with scanning hardware for future implementation. I told the staff that I would much prefer the carts were repaired, as most have faulty wheels, causing them to steer erratically or make annoying noises throughout the store. Also, I'd prefer not putting checkers out of work. Guess I'm just old fashioned. Announcing a pay raise for employees while systematically eliminating their jobs strikes me as devious.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Etienne said...

Getting rid of store employee's is one way to cut costs.

Getting rid of the grocer's apostrophe would also cut costs.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Does it really work?

Not yet. But it will.

bwebster said...

To quote the classic response: "What could go wrong?"

Bob Boyd said...

Is anyone else having trouble loading the comments pages this AM? They're very slow to load and I keep getting 502 error messages.

Etienne said...

grocer's apostrophe

I'll remember that while I'm eating my Oreo's.

Etienne said...

trouble loading

With the loss of net neutrality, blogger gets less priority than Morning Joe and CNN video bandwidth.

Darkisland said...

I've been interested, professionally, in RFID for 20 years or so. Walmart has been even more interested. At one point, in the early 00s (00's?) they had a corporate VP whose only job was implementing it all the way down to shelf level. The goal was, you would load up your cart and pass through a portal on exit. It would scan your cart, print the receipt and you would swipe a credit or debit card or pay cash.

They had it at about 98% but could never get the last 2% reliably. It was also expensive, about 3-5cents per RFID label.

This new approach looks more hopeful.

Trivia: RFID tags work fine on a bottle of olive oil but not at all on a bottle of soy sauce. Water based products attenuate the signal, oil based products do not.

John Henry

tcrosse said...

Due to the government shutdown, Internet switchboard operators are on furlough. Hence trouble loading.

Kevin said...

The truly rich take things and are billed later.

The truly poor take things and never pay.

It's only this intermediate area where people and products must be checked, sorted, and monitored.

Kevin said...

With the loss of net neutrality, blogger gets less priority than Morning Joe and CNN video bandwidth.

The Dems are furiously typing "what are the shutdown talking points" into Google this morning.

They cannot arrive at work unarmed.

Hagar said...

Those pesky people getting in the way of progress again.

mockturtle said...

Due to the government shutdown, Internet switchboard operators are on furlough. Hence trouble loading.

;-D

mockturtle said...

Back in the Dark Ages when I was in high school, we had a representative from NASA speak to our science class. He told us that, in the future, a person would be able to perform all errands and tasks from a single position in his home. At the time, we were skeptical. I'm still not sure it's a good idea in the long run. We are being dehumanized to such an extent that we don't even feel quite human any more.

EDH said...

I like the the lady who acts like she's getting away with stealing in the Ikea ad.

"Start the Car! Start the Car! Whooo!"

Eleanor said...

I can go to the local grocery store, fill my basket with empty bags, grab a hand scanner, and scan my groceries as I choose them and put them in the bags. Go to the checkout, put the bags up on the counter, and plug the scanner in. The groceries are weighed on the belt to check for accuracy, my bill is calculated, I pay, put the bags back in my cart and leave. If they had scales you could just push the cart onto, it would be perfect. Lots of cameras around the store I'm guessing to keep customers honest, but they aren't immediately obvious. The part I like best is I get to sort my groceries the way I want to unpack them at home. It's not a time saver, but when the store is crowded, the scanner line moves faster. You don't need a phone or an app. Maybe if you did, more young people would use it. It's not very high tech.

AllenS said...

Sounds like a lot of people will be pealing the price\information of product stickers off of the goods before passing through the scanner.

Carol said...

I told the staff that I would much prefer the carts were repaired,

WalMart also needs to go to those smaller carts that other supermarkets and libraries use. So easy to push..I put everything I can in the Kid Seat on the old dinosaur carts anyway.

Caligula said...

Yes, but, how long will it be before someone builds a phone app that can spoof the system into convincing the store that the items are being charged to a valid account without actually charging anything (or at least not full price) to the owner of the phone?

Might this drift into a Spy vs Spy, Security Measure vs Countermeasure, War of the Wizards?

rhhardin said...

I prefer the U-scan technology.

Except the Kroger scanners aren't good at reading embedded chip credit cards, and you have to remember which machine works and which doesn't.

rhhardin said...

The carts at Home Depot all work, and the carts at your Kroger don't, I pointed out to a lady Kroger manager once. Maybe you should hire some men.

Big Mike said...

Does the hardware detect that the item was put back, or can it be spoofed by prying off the RFID tag and just putting that back?

Note that current facial recognition software thinks all Asians look alike and all black people look alike. (Software is racist!)

AllenS said...

Math test --

You go to the grocery store and buy 7 tomatoes for 20¢ a piece. Only 4 have a price sticker on them. How much are you charged for the tomatoes when you go through the price scanner?

n.n said...

Old school gone mainstream, soon.

mockturtle said...

AllenS: I can answer that question. Because there is no sticker on three of the tomatoes, even though they are clearly identical to the stickered ones, someone must be sent back to the produce section to verify the price. This may take as long as ten minutes, incurring the justifiable wrath of those behind you in line.

rhhardin said...

The attendant knows who to watch and who not to, at the U scans. It's profiling.

You price your own tomatos via whatever number you type in.

I think mostly U-scans would work with no weighing to check items at all, sort of on an honor system, with most people. Who mostly are the unwatched ones. Profiling again.

rhhardin said...

At a neighboring town, the drugstore wouldn't open until mid morning on sunday, and newspapers would sit in the doorway until the staff showed up to take them inside.

For those 5 hours, there would be a growing pile of money on a shrinking pile of newspapers, and it worked out okay.

AllenS said...

Answer --

The fine for shoplifting will be $250. So, $250.80 is the correct answer.

Robert Cook said...

I don't like it because I don't like being forced to use my credit card for purchases. I sometimes (very seldom) will use a card to buy books if I don't have the cash on me, but never for food. I also don't like putting people out of work.

mockturtle said...

I also don't like putting people out of work.

Me, either, Cookie.

Gahrie said...

I also don't like putting people out of work.

Me neither...but I have to admit I am getting tired of paying buggy whip makers not make buggy whips.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And....when you get "checked out" and find out you were charged for something NOT your shopping cart, charged for a item different than you chose (charged for brie instead of cheddar), charged for more items of a type than you chose (three jars of jam when you only have one)....and so on and on.

Who do you complain to? Where do you go to get the problem fixed?

Too many variables that can go wrong.

mockturtle said...

Many years ago I played a computer game where you have to negotiate endless layers of bureaucracy, each layer 'manned' by a robotic entity and mostly involved running from one building to another. I didn't finish it.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Remember this ad predicting this? From way back in '06:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eob532iEpqk

"You forgot your receipt."

Leora said...

I suspect this concept will work best in office buildings, hotels, apartment complexes and gated communities. There will probably need to be employees to stock the shelves and prepare the take out food.