Eye on AI - November 15th, 2019
Welcome to Aigora's "Eye on AI" series, where we round up exciting news at the intersection of consumer science and artificial intelligence!
This week, we continue to observe the growing overlap between consumer product companies and the tech sector, with a focus on new developments in the grocery sector.
Recommender Systems Find Their Way into Shopping Carts
We begin with an article out of RIS News, titled “Sobeys Rolls Out AI-Powered Shopping Carts,” that outlines a new kind of shopping cart soon to be released by Canadian grocery giant Sobeys, which eliminates the need for checkout lines.
“The shopping cart is powered by deep learning and computer vision that identifies items as they are added to the basket,” writes the RIS editors. “Through an interactive screen the carts provide shoppers with nearby deals, tailored recommendations, and recipes.”
The cart, aptly named Capers Smart Cart, was created in partnership with technology company Capers, and is among the first smart shopping carts to be released. Not only will it simplify the shopping experience for customers, but will also provide Sobeys with ample data with which to track shopping trends. This kind of technology could be game-changing if proven effective, and continues a growing trend of consumer product companies implementing innovation lessons from start-ups.
As Amazon Moves into Retail, Walmart Partners with Apple for Voice-Ordering
We continue with intriguing news from the largest tech and retail companies, beginning an article out of Business Insider about Amazon’s announcement that it will be opening new grocery stores separate from Whole Foods.
"The new store offers another grocery option that's distinct from Whole Foods Market, which continues to grow and remain the leader in quality natural and organic food," writes an Amazon spokesperson.
While details on the new store are vague, (though given the retail giants proclivity for tech, it’s expected that these new stores will be AI-focused) the announcement comes at an intriguing time, as Walmart announced this week that it has partnered with Apple’s Siri for grocery voice ordering. The new Walmart/ Apple partnership, as described in the Ad Week article, “Walmart Expands Voice Ordering to Apple’s Siri,” will allow Walmart customers to add items to their shopping cart remotely using Siri-enabled devices.
“Shoppers can build virtual baskets by saying ‘Add to Walmart’ and the name of the product,” writes Ad Week reporter Lisa Lacy. “Walmart will use information from customers’ purchase history to identify the specific items they ask for…. The new voice order functionality also allows Walmart customers to add items to their carts over multiple days and through a range of devices, including iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, HomePod or CarPlay.”
While the voice-ordering feature is available for non-Apple devices, including Google’s suite of products, Amazon’s Alexa is notably absent from the list. This is perhaps a competitive move by Walmart to gain an advantage over what is arguably their largest retail competitor.
As the battle for grocery AI dominance heats up, expect companies to implement more AI-tech products as they attempt to find new ways to collect consumer data sets.
Google partnership gives it access to millions of people’s private health records
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