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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Microsoft and Kroger Edge

Saw early versions of this in Microsoft innovation spaces.  Look forward to seeing it in place.

Kroger’s smart shelves ditch the paper, drop the lights and delight the shoppers

In Microsoft Transform  By Bill Briggs
The future beckons in Aisle 3.

Your eyes scan side to side to absorb product-packed shelves ablaze with digital prices, deals of the hour and imagery of foods that soon may star on your dinner table. You’re thinking Italian.

You look closer. Nutritional and allergy data stream from the IoT-enabled display. Sundried tomatoes announce they are gluten free. Pasta sauce reveals: “I’m local!” Bluetooth in the shelf interacts with the shopping list in your smartphone, lighting up a shelf beneath the very next item you came to fetch: fettuccine.

That’s what you see in Kroger EDGE, a new, cloud-based signage solution for retail shelves. But what’s not here is equally enticing: no printed price tags, no cardboard promos and none of the bright lighting normally needed to blast extra photons onto all of that paper.

“It’s cleaner and environmentally efficient – and our customers perceive that and like it,” says Brett Bonner, vice president of research and development. “This is green power.”

EDGE – which stands for Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment – relies on Microsoft Azure to store and process volumes of data generated by customer actions on and around the shelves.

Connected by IoT sensors, EDGE beams real-time info from every aisle and endcap at 16 test stores located near the company’s Cincinnati, Ohio headquarters. This year, the Kroger Co. – America’s largest supermarket chain – will introduce EDGE at 120 total stores.

Quietly, though, the new solution also shines an environmentally gentle light on Kroger’s larger commitment to earth friendliness, Bonner says.

EDGE is designed, for example, to use a low-voltage, direct current that meets standards set by the EMerge Alliance, an industry association that’s leading adoption of safe, efficient power in commercial buildings.

As EDGE matures, it will run on renewable energy sources, Bonner says. Currently, the system uses an LED light source that saps far less power than incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs.

“The main reason for having big lights in stores is because you’ve got to light it up to read paper tags,” Bonner says. “With this, you can also turn down your lights.”  .... " 

(More and Images at link)

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