According to Hanrahan, the first thing this equipment will help the team focus on is product inventory and availability. In short, the team will use real-time information to explore efficiencies that will allow associates to know more precisely when to restock products, so items are available on shelves when they’re needed.
“Customers can be confident about products being there, about the freshness of produce and meat. Those are the types of things that AI can really help with,” Hanrahan said.
Here’s one example the team is working on for the near future: When you go shopping for the week, you want the products you buy to be in stock when you get to the store. In IRL, a combination of cameras and real-time analytics will automatically trigger out-of-stock notifications to internal apps that alert associates when to re-stock. This sounds simple, but it means the store has to automatically:
Detect the product on the shelf
Recognize the specific product (meaning, decipher the differences between 1 pound of ground beef and 2 pounds of ground beef)
Compare the quantities on the shelf to the upcoming sales demand