Microsoft is reportedly working on an AI-based retail solution that could take on Amazon Go, which was inaugurated in Seattle this January.
The software giant’s new technology will be able to track what customers add to their carts and eliminate the need for cashiers as well as checkout lines from stores by facilitating automated billing at the end.
This concept is just like Amazon Go’s revolutionary model where shoppers use their smartphones to scan and enter the grocery store.
There are cameras and sensors in the shop to identify items that are removed from the shelves. After shopping, customers can leave the store and Amazon bills the credits cards linked to their accounts.
According to Reuters, a team of 10-15 people in Microsoft Business AI team is working on the project, and it has been already presented to CEO Satya Nadella.
This checkout-free retail solution will make use of technologies like Microsoft Azure and an “intelligent edge” device to reduce traffic on the cloud and thereby cut down on costs for retailers, who are already making small profits.
Microsoft has also hired a former Amazon Go computer vision specialist to assist in creating special shopping carts with attached cameras to track the items.
The automated retail solution has been already pitched to many retailers around the world. A partnership with Walmart is also being speculated.
Currently, Amazon has a single store open in Seattle, but it will soon open up its highly automated stores in Chicago and San Francisco. This has sent the retail sector in a state of frenzy.
Many of them are now testing programs which allow customers to scan and bag each item as they shop to counter the world’s biggest online retailer.
In such conditions, Microsoft can greatly benefit from this technology by partnering up with retailers and selling its new technology. However, there is no word on when this service will be released in the market, if at all. Meanwhile, Microsoft has declined to comment on this situation.