Microsoft develops 'intelligent' shopping trolley
Does it yell out when it's been nicked?
Supermarket trolleys have always been pretty basic - until now. Microsoft is co-developing a new one featuring an integrated display that tells you what to buy, what aisle it’s in and how much you’ve spent.
MediaCart's shopping trolley features a colour display
Dubbed MediaCart, hungry shoppers swipe their loyalty card through a scanner on the trolley’s handle at the beginning of their shop. Targeted video adverts, based on information about previous shopping habits, will then be shown on a 12in retractable colour display as they browse the aisles.
The screen will be managed by several Microsoft technologies, including Windows CE and Microsoft SQL Server. A power unit will sit in the trolley’s base.
A “cart-level checkout feature” rivalling RFID may also be built into the trolley. Hungry shoppers would manually scan their own items on the display before putting them into the trolley, while the total cost of their shopping would be calculated before they left the store – without them passing everything through the supermarket’s check-out aisles.
Shopping bills are calculated without going through a till
In addition, it’s claimed the trolley will also allow customers to find products faster within the supermarket and show them information about special offers, like a two-for-one on Windows Vista. Individual shopping lists could even be uploaded onto the supermarket’s website and then downloaded onto the trolley by swiping your loyalty card.
Is it smart enough to send out a signal when it's been dumped in the canal, we wonder? Or to alert security when it's been ridden by a bunch of young thugs?
MediaCart’s due to be trialled across American supermarket chain ShopRite later this year, with additional participation from the trolley’s manufacturer, MediaCart Holdings.
Plans for a UK trial haven’t been announced - thank God - but if the American trial goes smoothly then it could change the way we all do the mundane weekly shop.
Those of us still not ordering our groceries online, that is...
It'll solve the 2 things I hated about shopping in the States.....
1. We call them trolleys and they call them carts for a reason. Ours steer with all 4 wheels, theirs steer with just the front 2. Much harder to get round sharp corners / avoid the silly woman who steps back right in front of you.
2. Buying things that cost more at the till..... yeah, the fact that we already have VAT added in our prices, they add the tax at the checkout. Hopefully this would tell you how much you're *actually* spending. (Nothing more annoying than buying 2 items in the dollar store and finding out one costs $1.04 and the other is $1.12...... dur)
Microsoft are incapable
Microsoft can't even get the calculations in Excel to work properly so what makes them think I will trust this?
This is what it would show:
3 x 1pt Milk @ 34p = £100,000.00
> A customer who knows exactly what they want, and sticks to the buying decision made before they even set foot in the store, is no good to the supermarket. Which is, frankly, why they try to make the shopping experience more pleasant to women than men!
To be honest, the entire "constantly move everything around so I go looking for it and buy more stuff" simply dosen't work. (at least with me) If I can't find something I get pissed off and give up so they lose a sale.
Now we can have some high tech homeless people now!
Not new at all...
They had those in a supermarket chain when I was working in the States (Atlanta, to be specific). This was about 10-15 years ago.
It wasn't much use then, either. As has been said, too many things to keep updated in the database...