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article imageIs Walmart aiming to get rid of cashiers and checkout lines?

By Tim Sandle     Jun 14, 2018 in Business
Will the adoption of technology from Microsoft mean the end of checkout lines at Walmart, not to mention the loss of cashier jobs? New technology has the potential to make this happen.
In a sign of a growing interest from retailers about automation and the adoption of new technology, Walmart has indicated it is working with Microsoft in a study to see if there is an alternative to the traditional end-of-shop experience for consumers: waiting in line in order to pay for a basket or trolley full of items and listening to the less-than-tuneful 'bleep' of the barcode scanner as a cashier moves items through.
What Microsoft is working on, according to Reuters, may not be conceptually different from that offered by another major technology player.
What's more important is the trend in digital technology that the move signifies. With the development, Microsoft is working on technology that intends to remove the need for cashiers and checkout lines in stores. This seems similar to Amazon's technology which is in place at the company's Amazon Go Seattle store.
With the Amazon concept, a shopper enters the store through a gate that opens when the consumer scan a QR code generated by the Amazon Go app on their smartphone. The shopper then picks up their items from the shelves and then can just leave, with the payment deducted from the shopper's account. It is through computer vision, machine learning algorithms and sensors that Amazon is able to tell what people have picked up and what they need to be charged.
With Microsoft, Arstechnica reports that Microsoft's technology will be designed to track which items customers put into their carts, through light and motion sensors, which is linked with the company's new Kinect for Azure project. The report notes that Walmart is interested in what Microsoft is developing.
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