Walmart has started testing computer vision and AI in a big way at an “Intelligent Retail Lab” lab on Long Island, outside New York City.
The Walmart Neighborhood Market in Levittown, N.Y. has 1,000s of overhead cameras tracking the state and movement in the store aisles, as well as standard and interactive digital signage screens explaining the Lab and infrastructure.
There’s also some pointless – at least in the current iteration – video wall eye candy. A camera tracks shoppers as they pass and affects what’s on the screen.
Anyway, the 50,000 sq. ft. store has 30,000 items, and is intended as a working lab to test how it can improve the experience for shoppers. Computer vision tech can do things like identify out of stock items and trigger notifications or orders to replenish. It can also do things like track shopping patterns and cashier activity/line-up levels.
The lab also serves as a demo, no doubt, intended to show investors and business partners it is innovating in this area and has a “smart” foil to things like the Amazon Go stores.
Interesting side note: Levittown in Nassau County is widely considered the birthplace of the concept of suburbs, and Walmart probably would not be what it is were there not suburbs.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.