The unemployment rate in the United States has been gradually falling and as at last October was 3.6%. The rate in New Zealand is not too dissimilar at 4.6%. I cannot but wonder how this is so and will it continue with evermore sophisticated technology replacing employees?
Correspondent Aimee Shaw, as reported in the NZ Herald, says that walking into a shop and walking out with an item without needing to stop to check out will be the norm in shops all around the world within the next 10 years, quoting the founder of one of the United States' leading tech start-ups.
Standard Cognition, which uses artificial technology and machine vision technology to enable autonomous shopping, allows customers to shop and pay without any scanning, stopping to check out or waiting in line, is deployed in three stores in the United States and two in Japan.
Its technology will be deployed to a further seven US-based stores in the first-half of the year, and the company, founded in 2017, has bold plans to roll it out worldwide.
The high-tech retailing technology allows shoppers to walk into a shop, take what they like, and walk out. Payment for the items is instantaneous and comes via computers on the ceiling and an app, similarly to what is already being done in about 20 Amazon Go stores.
This payment method is not common in the US, at least not yet, says Michael Suswal, co-founder and chief operating officer of Standard Cognition.
He believes everyone in the world will have shopped at an autonomous store at least once within the next five years, and within 10 years it will be expected by shoppers.
"Certainly within 10 years, I think retailers will be behind the times and at threat of going out of business if you're not doing it," Suswal told the Herald at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where the company announced its partnership with Boston baseball team Worcester Red Sox's sporting venues.
Suswal says the technology looks at an item in the same way as a shopper does, and it gets better and more accurate the more it is used.
The biggest challenge to rolling out the technology far and wide was the back end technology such as the cameras and GPU which needed to work without teams of engineers watching them, once that was automated.
Standard Cognition is not currently working with any New Zealand retailers, though Suswal said it had been contacted by some, and others in Oceania.
"We've been restricted on how far we have wanted to expand and in what regions but our goal is to bring this to every store in the world."
Next year would be Standard Cognition's "year of scale" where it planned to roll out its technology to thousands of stores, says Suswal.
You may not need a wallet in your pocket or purse but you will need a smart phone!
To read more about this new technology go to :-https://www.nzherald.co.nz/technology/news/article.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=12299243