Unmanned Convenience Store Using AI
Frustrated with the long lines from SOPs to shop, Yee Yun Lim wondered how something as simple as a run got so complex.
She recalled her experience in a Japanese convenience store where she could quickly access with her metro card, get what she needed, and type.
Amazed at how convenient and quick it was to pick up items without queuing, she decided to bring this concept to the local scene.
A Smart Store Proof-Of-Concept
Through her company, Aye Solutions – pronounced “I” Solutions), here she brings her proof of concept (POC) AI store to the untapped local market, calling it the Aye Smart Store.
Its goal is to make AI more accessible to local businesses and applicable to the mass market through its localized plug and play model.
Dictionary time: Plug and play is used to describe devices that work with a computer system as soon as they are connected, without the need for external drivers or prior installation.
The store works like this. Imagine a physical store with no staff, offering a fully automated experience from the moment you walk in until you leave.
To enter the store, simply tap a bank card or the Aye Solutions app at the front doors, such as entering the LRT.
You can then browse and collect items from the shelves and place them in a physical shopping bag.
The Aye Smart Store will automatically add your items to their virtual copy of your cart with no analysis required.
If you change your mind, you can put the items back on the shelves and Aye’s system will deduct them from your basket.
To check, you simply walk out of the store. The same card you used to enter will automatically be charged by Aye’s system.
Robots take over
When I first read on this concept store, I speculated that in order for this to work, there had to be some kind of motion sensor under each item.
That’s how he would know when a customer takes something and puts it back, right?
I also wondered if only one person was allowed in the store at a time for the system to track their movements.
While interviewing Yun Lim, she debunked my theory of motion sensors. She also told Vulcan Post that Aye’s system is designed to track multiple buyers at once.
This is done through the store’s backend network of sensors and cameras, which track and analyze shoppers’ movements. This allows the store to automatically add or deduct any items picked up or put back on the shelves.
It also covers the issue of shoplifting, as every shopper who enters the store is tied to the card they used with.
The fluidity and ease of purchase presented by automation certainly appears to be cutting edge technology. However, it also requires some responsibility on the part of every buyer, especially to put the items back in their place if opinions change.
Using smarter technologies also comes with skepticism of a market that is not often exposed to them. With the store’s cameras and sensors tracking your movement as soon as you walk in, that brings me to the concern for privacy.
No strings attached
Think of it this way, cameras are already everywhere, from CCTV cameras staring at us from corners of the ceiling in stores to elevators in your condo.
Regarding the information related to your card, Yun Lim clarified that the Aye Smart Store does not keep any personal data in its backend. The same goes for banking information.
“Regarding bank details, the payment terminal is owned by the financial service provider, like a bank, and all information is stored by him. The financial service provider acts as an intermediary between the Aye Smart Store and the customer. “
The only information requested by Aye is a customer’s cell phone number to send a verification code for purchases. It also serves as a point of contact.
To present the Smart Store, Aye the POC will be located in Glenmarie. Yun Lim hopes he can introduce Aye’s technology to consumers, business owners and investors.
“This is important because an integrated stand-alone retail solution like this does not yet exist in the local market. We want people to experience technology firsthand and discover the real meaning of a highly technological lifestyle, ”she said.
The implementation of the POC will also allow Aye’s engineering team to improve its services. They will then make improvements based on the needs of local entrepreneurs and consumers.
Although MCOs have made Malaysians more open to shopping online for essentials, I believe that more than just shopping, Aye offers a new experience for consumers.
What remains to be seen are what types of brands and products the Aye Smart Store will offer, as this will likely determine how often customers will return once the novelty wears off.
- You can read more about Aye Solutions here.
- You can read more Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: Yee Yun Lim, Founder of Aye Solutions / Touch To Go at Akabane station, Japan
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