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‘Future proof’ autonomous micro-market solution

Hitachi and Shekel Brainweigh collaborated to create Capsule, a system that identifies and tracks shoppers, charges them automatically without the need for a checkout device.


January 30, 2020
By CANADIAN VENDING


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Shekel Brainweigh Ltd and Hitachi unveiled Capsule, the world’s first framework for cost-effective autonomous micro-market solution based on Hitachi’s LiDAR sensors and Shekel’s Product Aware Shelves at NRF 2020 Vision (Retail’s Big Show). The two companies showcased their fully operational autonomous store, named “Capsule.”

“Micro-markets are the fastest growing segment of convenience shopping. We see them exploding in high traffic areas, such as workplaces, campuses, train stations and airports,” said Thomas Hylas, Sales and Marketing Manager, Hitachi America Ltd. “Deploying the joint Shekel-Hitachi solution enables retailers and micro-market operators to provide the 24/7 frictionless shopping experience consumers demand without sacrificing accuracy, performance or profitability.”

In a recent consumer survey commissioned by Shekel, nearly 50 per cent of respondents indicated their biggest frustrations with micro-markets and standard vending machines were a limited selection and the lack of fresh products. Additionally, 41 per cent of respondents specified that if they could return items and purchase more than one item at a time, they would be more open to using a micro-market over vending machines.

“For retailers, Capsule is extremely cost-effective, highly accurate, privacy compliant, and future proof,” said Udi Wiesner, General Manager – Retail innovation Division , Shekel Brainweigh Ltd in a press release. “Capsule allows retailers to provide consumers with a wider variety of products including food and beverage choices and the ability to purchase multiple items in the same transaction without ever having to visit a check out station. These are exactly the features consumers demand in grab-and-go and express shopping environments.”

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Capsule is a modular, integrated, cost-effective framework for autonomous micro-market that revolutionizes the way shoppers purchase items. It acts as an autonomous shopping solution, a real time inventory management platform and privacy compliant LiDAR shopper tracking technology, all packed in an end-to-end cost/effective solution.

To enter, shoppers will be identified using a secured payment method and tracked while shopping by Hitachi’s proven LiDAR technology. Consumers can shop for any item in the store, which are registered with Shekel Product Aware shelves and management system that is automatically integrated to any retailer’s POS and leave the store without checking out through traditional self-checkout machines or via store cashiers. Since all administrative process are automated, such as calculating and paying for purchases, shoppers experience frictionless shopping that streamlines their time in store.

Hitachi’s 3D LiDAR technology enables low latency and bandwidth shopper tracking along his or her in-store journey in high resolution regardless of lighting conditions and without compromising privacy. Shekel’s Product Aware technology, based on IoT load sensors, embedded software and cloud based AI and Machine Learning , identifies products. TThe first Capsule store is expected to be fully operational in Q1 2020.

“Autonomous micro-markets must demonstrate availability, accuracy of operations, and provide a superior user experience for shoppers,” added Wiesner, in the same release.“Our joint solution with Hitachi gives retailers flawless identification and tracking of shoppers in an autonomous store area so consumers can collect products from shelves, be automatically charged, and leave the store without ever needing to use a checkout device.”