Automated retail

Microsoft is currently working on technology that has the capacity to power checkout free retail stores, Reuters reports. The move has the potential to shake up the market, and the news comes just a year after Amazon launched its first cashier-free store in Seattle.

Amazon’s store is fitted with cameras and sensors that use computer vision algorithms to determine what has been taken, which means that shoppers can just grab items off the shelves and go. Dubbed Amazon Go, the technology automatically charges the items to the shopper’s account and transforms shopping into a fully automated experience.

Amazon Go stores will soon expand to Chicago and San Francisco, but Reuters reports that Microsoft has recently recruited a computer vision specialist from Amazon. It looks like the tech giant are attempting to infiltrate the market of automated retail, and there are reports of the company showing sample technology to retailers around the world.

Microsoft is apparently experimenting with automated retail technology by attaching cameras to shopping carts to track items, but the company are yet to reveal what specifics they will implement. Gene Munster from Loup Ventures stated “this is the future of checking out for convenience and grocery stores”, and the venture capital firm estimated the automated checkout value at $50 billion.

Microsoft said that it “does not comment on rumours or speculation”, Amazon also declined to comment. Both companies are constantly in competition, but it is still unclear as to whether automated retail will be added to their long list of rivalries.

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