AP EXCLUSIVE: At Walmart, using AI to watch the store

ABC News | 4/25/2019 | Staff
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Inside one of Walmart's busiest Neighborhood Market grocery stores, high resolution cameras suspended from the ceiling point to a table of bananas. They can tell how ripe the bananas are from their color.

When a banana starts to bruise, the cameras send an alert to a worker. Normally, that task would have relied on the subjective assessment of a human, who likely doesn't have time to inspect every piece of fruit.

Walmart - Intelligent - Retail - Lab - Giant

Welcome to Walmart's Intelligent Retail Lab — the retail giant's biggest attempt to digitize the physical store.

The thousands of cameras are a key feature of the lab, which officially opens inside this 50,000-square-foot store on Thursday. Walmart envisions using them, combined with other technology like sensors on shelves, to monitor the store in real time so its workers can quickly react to replenish products or fix other problems. The technology, shown to The Associated Press, will also be able to track when shelves need to be restocked or if shopping carts are running low. It can spot spills on the floor and even detect when cash registers need to be opened up before long lines start forming.

Walmart - Dive - Intelligence - Store - Amazon

Walmart's deep dive into artificial intelligence in its physical store comes as Amazon raised the stakes in the grocery business with its purchase of Whole Foods Market nearly two years ago.

That's put more pressure on Walmart and other traditional retailers like Kroger and Albertson's to pour money into technology in their physical stores. At the same time, they're trying to keep food prices down and manage expenses. Amazon has been rolling out cashier-less Amazon Go stores, which has shelf sensors that track the 1,000 products on its shelves.

Walmart - US - Sales - Fraction - Amazon

Walmart's online U.S. sales are still a fraction of Amazon's online global merchandise empire, which reached $122.98 billion last year.

Walmart hopes to start scaling some of the new...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ABC News
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