Barclaycard Is Trying To Put An End To The Supermarket Line
Their app automatically charges grocery items to a shopper's credit card as they pass through the store
Anyone that has ever gone grocery shopping in a hurry knows the annoyance of supermarket lines that don’t seem to move. Barclaycard is developing a smartphone app that could get rid of this annoyance for good. The app is able to automatically charge items to a credit card through a phone’s camera, which acts as the checkout scanner.
The service is currently in a trial run at Barclaycard’s London headquarters with the hopes that it will pilot next year with a major retailer. Leading the project is Barclaycard’s director of design Usman Sheik, who has already been in touch with a number of large brands, including supermarkets, that are interested in the technology.
The service would allow shoppers to walk through a store and scan the items they want as they shop, so there is no need to line up and check out at the end. Sheik believes that the time involved in shopping would be cut dramatically if there were no need for a checkout area.
The service can be operated through Barclaycard’s own app, or it could be integrated with retailers existing apps. The technology would enable retailers to monitor transactions and check shoppers virtual receipts to thwart shoplifters.
Other companies are developing similar services. For example, Amazon has its own checkout-free shops that use a facial recognition system and sensors on shelves to track what customers are buying. While Amazon has its Amazon Go store and recently registered the trademark ‘No Queue. No Checkout,’ Sheik believes their technology is too expensive for most retailers. Because Amazon’s technology relies on sensors on every shelf, the solution is both cost prohibitive and difficult to scale.
Barclaycard hopes to start testing their scan technology with retailers in late 2017 or early 2018.
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Yael Maguire is an engineering director for the Facebook Connectivity Lab and a visiting scientist at Harvard. He is the co-founder of Plum Labs, an early stage mobile innovation lab, and co-founder and former CTO of ThingMagic, Inc., a leader in bringing long-range RFID readers to the global market. At Facebook, Yael is directly responsible for identifying and developing ways to provide affordable internet in underserved communities around the world. He is leading Facebook and Internet.org’s efforts to develop lasers, high altitude long endurance planes and satellites to help provide the necessary infrastructure for connectivity to these areas. He has been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum 2009-2013, a MassHighTech All-Star in 2007, and one of Technology Review's "Top 35 innovators in the world under 35" in 2005.