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Kiwi tech trailblazer opens 'world's largest AI checkout of its kind'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Imagr goes live in Japan and announces new Halo hardware

After announcing its first international partnership deal with H2O Retailing Corporation in Japan in 2019, local tech company Imagr has gone live with its end-to-end autonomous checkout system in Osaka.

From today shoppers can pair their phone with a shopping cart, do their shopping and leave without scanning any barcodes. Imagr’s advanced image recognition knows every single item in the store and recognises when it’s put in the cart. Customers can track their items as they go via the Imagr app and skip the checkout queue.

The Oasis store in Nakanoshima, Osaka, is 9,000 square feet with the Imagr system ready to recognise more than 8,000 SKUs. The system saves two minutes per checkout per customer, uses only 400KB of data per product recognition and requires no store shut down time to install in-store.

Imagr founder and CEO, William Chomley, says this is the largest vision-only, autonomous checkout deployment of its kind in the world.

"We have the most advanced vision-only frictionless checkout solution available in the global retail market. A deployment of this scale of self-contained vision technology in a supermarket is a world first.

"While I didn’t know it at the time, interest in the low touch retail solution we’ve created has surged since the rise of Covid-19. In a post-pandemic world people will still look for contactless solutions."

Imagr announces all-new ‘Halo’ hardware

The Halo houses Imagr’s proprietary computer vision, camera and lighting system which is used to recognise products without the need for barcodes.

The Halo technology is scalable so it can be set up on everything from a small basket to a large trolley. This marks an evolution to a new generation of cart possibilities, beyond Imagr’s original pull cart design.

"The Halo is unique in that the solution layers into any supermarket without a fit out or infrastructure overhaul. We have worked to create mobile software and adaptable hardware so our system can scale up or down to fit any requirement. Retailers can roll the system out without the need for Imagr to be involved."

Covid world needs innovative tech

Demand has soared for Imagr’s autonomous checkout system in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which rapidly boosted popularity for contactless experiences.

"The global grocery retail market is worth upwards of $11 trillion each year. It is growing rapidly and fiercely competitive. But as an industry it has been slow to innovate. Most retail industries are moving rapidly online, accelerated by the global pandemic, yet there is still demand for brick and mortar shopping.

"Investors are keen to back a product that helps to accelerate brick and mortar growth in a world where social distancing is becoming the norm. We’re excited for the future growth of Imagr and what’s to come."

Reflecting on his journey so far, William is proud of what Imagr has achieved.

"Launching an autonomous checkout solution and seeing the first customer use an Imagr cart in store is a testament to the incredible team we have assembled."

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