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article imageIntel thinks you need AI, bots and sensors to help you shop

By James Walker     Jan 17, 2017 in Technology
Intel has announced a $100 million investment in technologies that will bring automated bots and the Internet of Things to the high street. The company wants to connect and "transform" the retail industry using data and devices.
The company outlined its five-year vision for retail this week, unveiling a new platform designed to bring together hardware, software, APIs and sensors from across the field. According to Intel, the system, called Responsive Retail Platform, will take retail "to the next era of highly efficient and personalised shopping."
Intel is betting on data being the defining point of future retail experiences. To power the data revolution, it's developing new smart sensors that can collect information from shoppers. It explained how its technology can already detect misplaced items in stores and work out where they should be from the shop's inventory. The sensors can also pry into the minds of shoppers, identifying items that go into changing rooms but never make it to the till.
So far, Intel doesn't seem to have a complete connected retail solution to demonstrate. However, it does have a variety of components that it's now linking together through Responsive Retail Platform. The field is another frontier for Intel, a company increasingly desperate to separate itself from its former focus on desktop processors and silicon.
With developments in tech no longer emphasising raw processing power, Intel is having to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. After missing out on mobile, the company is aiming to be at the forefront of developments in machine learning, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. Retail stores are one area where these fields combine, making it an attractive investment to Intel.
Intel plans to use bots to drive the next retail transformation
Intel plans to use bots to drive the next retail transformation
The company has announced it will spend $100 million on the retail industry over the next five years. According to Intel, this will enable retailers to unify their business, ranging from back-office stock taking to customer promotional campaigns. It will develop data-centric tools and new automated systems to help retail stores take control of their operations.
"The retail platform collects multiple data streams to connect digital and physical environments," said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. "With the goals of lowering costs and increasing sales, the platform helps optimally place inventory, deploy employees and other resources, and track inventory – through the supply chain to the store door. It provides in-the-moment information about what customers are buying, what they want and how to manage inventory so it arrives just in time for customers to take it home."
Intel hasn't yet highlighted how its technology could directly aid the consumer. It's more focused on harvesting data for retailers, an approach that could dissatisfy customers. People aren't currently used to having every action they make in a store tracked and analysed.
Intel and retailers that choose to use bots and sensors could face trust issues in convincing customers to keep shopping in their stores. Robots that know when you last purchased what you just put in your cart could be helpful to store managers but more concerning to individuals.
More about Artificial intelligence, Ai, machine learning, IoT, internet of things
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