A wave of new technology is set to reinvent the way people shop in stores, and Intel wants to be at the center of it.
The chip giant announced the launch of a new platform for brick-and-mortar retailers this week that will tie together a set of software systems, sensors and other tech aimed at streamlining and improving store operations.
The web of connected gadgets will let companies more closely track inventory, collect data on shopper habits and eventually personalize offerings much like their online counterparts already do.
Intel plans to invest $100 million in the project over the next five years.
During the unveiling, which took place at a retail trade show in New York on Monday, the company also showed off a robot called Tally, a tower-shaped gadget designed to roam store aisles and collect inventory data. The automated store clerk is produced by Simbe Robotics, but Intel touted it as an example of a technology that might eventually tap into the company’s web of devices.
The computer company also assembled a mock version of a Levi’s store display to demonstrate how ceiling sensors could provide real-time information on the stock and location of various sizes and styles of jeans.
One of the biggest advantages online retailers have over their brick-and-mortar counterparts is a wealth of customer data with which they can tailor individual product suggestions and arrange virtual storefronts and promotions around shopping habits.
But thanks to advancements in internet-of-things technology and artificial intelligence, these capabilities will soon be just as possible in physical stores.
“At Intel, we believe that increasingly retailers will be separated by those who have data and use it to grow and optimize the shopping experience, and those who dont and make their decisions based on ‘experience’ and subjective observations,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich wrote in an editorial accompanying the announcement at a retail trade show in New York.
This coming revolution has not escaped the notice of e-commerce behemoth Amazon, which recently teased its own take on a physical retail store with Amazon Go, which incorporates much of the same tech plus more radical features like self-checkout via app.
By contrast, Krzanich stressed that Intel’s automated technology is intended to assist rather than replace employees, according ZDNet’s report.
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