America’s biggest grocery store chain, Kroger, has joined hands with Microsoft to make a couple of hi-tech grocery shops. The shops, which are situated in Ohio and Washington, are filled with image recognition cameras and digital shelf labels, and plan to make a retail environment that is simpler for both retail employees and customers to navigate. The two firms also expect to employ the digital signage to sell targeted advertisements on the basis of user demographics.
Kroger is the 2nd primary retailer to have joined hands with Microsoft after Walmart declared an association of its own in 2018. The retail incumbents in America are cautious of the increasing threat that Amazon causes to their businesses, both through the 3,000 Amazon Go shops it’s supposedly aiming to roll out all over the US and its Whole Foods acquirement, and expect that AI and Azure cloud infrastructure from Microsoft will assist them better view with data-driven approach from Amazon. Kroger’s prototype shops are not nearly as enhanced as the Amazon Go stores, but they are a lot more advanced than the firm’s other 2,800 retail food shops.
On a related note, the US Army earlier offered a $480 Million deal to Microsoft to provide the military with almost 100,000 HoloLens AR headsets for combat and training purposes, as per the media reports. Microsoft overtook other top AR headset firms, such as Magic Leap, which declared that it would be joining the bidding procedure soon.
Microsoft has had the advantage, aiming majorly on enterprise markets, unlike Magic Leap, which has aimed on the hardly-existent user industry. Microsoft has also earlier traded some devices to the military. But this deal might go well beyond its previous partnership, and can greatly extend the reach of the devices. “AR technology will offer troops with better and more information to come on a decision,” a spokesperson at Microsoft claimed.