Standard Cognition Tests Cashierless Store
San Francisco — Built to demonstrate the company’s AI-based, overhead camera system as a means to power an autonomous shopping experience, Standard Cognition opened the first cashierless store in its hometown of San Francisco in September. The 1,900-square-foot store is located at 1071 Market Street and beat trailblazer Amazon.com’s opening of an Amazon Go location in the city by more than a month.
Open to the public, albeit with limited hours, the store is similar to a c-store with snacks and household items. Shoppers download the Standard Market mobile app for iPhone and Android, check in through the app, shop and leave.
While this sounds similar to Amazon Go and other cashierless concepts, there are differences. Standard Market uses only overhead cameras to track and communicate with the shopper’s phone. The cameras are enabled with artificial intelligence vision, watching what that shopper picks up and puts back, as well as tracking insights such as whether the shopper reads the nutrition label or the branding.
“We can make the computer really, really smart and not on only what it sees but interpreting what it sees,” says Evan Shiue, director of strategy and growth, Standard Cognition.
Amazon Go differs by using shelf sensors that combine with overhead cameras.
Standard Market also doesn’t use any facial recognition technology or track any biometric information. “The company went out of its way to be privacy forward,” says Shiue. Instead, when a shopper enters the store and checks in through the app, a color flashes on the phone and the cameras bind that color to that shopper and marks the shopper as “shopper 1.”
Standard Market has 27 cameras placed in the store. “If you compare that to the other platforms out there, almost assuredly that’s on the lower end,” Shiue says. “Why that’s important is as we work with retailers we want to be a light touch solution.”
Shiue spent time at Walmart and PepsiCo before joining Standard Cognition. “Coming from Walmart, where you have 5,000-odd stores, with some of the stores being 100,000-square-foot supercenters, it’s nearly impossible to go in and rip out all of the shelves and install hundreds if not thousands of cameras overhead efficiently and cost effectively,” Shiue says. “With that in mind, we built a tech around a store, whereas Amazon built a store around their tech.”
Standard Market’s hours and product assortment intend to grow over the year but San Francisco might be its only location. The store’s main goal is to showcase Standard Cognition’s tech for potential retailers. The company has four customers, recently naming Paltac Corp. in Japan, a wholesaler of health and beauty products, to bring autonomous shopping of its goods to 3,000 stores in Tokyo by 2020.