California Upstart AiFi Says Amazon Go Is Just the Beginning

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California Upstart AiFi Says Amazon Go Is Just the Beginning

The logo for tech startup AiFi

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A cashier-less experience could be coming to more stores, not just Amazon Go.

AiFi unveiled the first scalable checkout-free solution for stores from small mom-and-pop convenience stores to major mega retailers. Using its AI technology, sensor and camera networks and system integration, AiFi 's platform will allow all stores to move toward a checkout-free future, according to the Santa Clara-based technology startup.

The company added it's working with one of the world's largest retailers to create its checkout-free solution on a massive scale.

AiFi's checkout-free solution incorporates the company's proprietary computer vision algorithms with computing at the edge using low-power mobile devices to run multi-person behavior tracking and product recognition in real time.

The company has also developed ways of generating training data that can tackle different shopping scenarios in practice. According to AiFi, the checkout-free solution does not require any major retrofitting on the part of the stores and once installed, retailers will gain improved inventory management data as well as insights into consumer shopping habits and product preferences.

"Consumers and businesses alike want to be efficient and with a checkout-free store, consumers have an incredible shopping experience. Because our technology is massively scalable, tens of thousands of stores worldwide can become a 'grab and go' type of retailer," said Steve Gu, CEO, AiFi.

"The shopping experience now demonstrated and widely promoted by Amazon is just the tiniest taste of what the AiFi technology will do for retailers — with shops that range from tiny to huge," Gu added.

He noted that AiFi's pilot will "roll out in one very large store, orders of magnitude bigger than the Amazon Go store, at the end of this year."

According to the company, its checkout-free technology utilizes:

  • AI algorithms which demonstrate superior performance for real-time people tracking, action recognition and product recognition.
  • Sophisticated camera technology that can adapt to any type of store, ranging from a big brand store with thousands of square feet to the small family-owned shop on the corner.
  • Systems which continuously track hundreds or thousands of shoppers in a store and which can recognize or re-identify them throughout a complete shopping session.
  • A comprehensive understanding of shopping behaviors and gestures (even identifying abnormal gestures), and identify people who are shopping together as a group.
  • Technology to recognize tens of thousands of SKU item numbers based on AI.

"Here's what we know. More than 90 percent of last year's retail sales came from physical stores yet Americans spent at least 37 billion hours waiting in line, which is considered the top frustration among shoppers," Gu said. "Convenience is key if stores want to grow and drive business. Our solution helps stores run more efficiently and provides customers with a better shopping experience. Run in, grab what you need and continue on with your day. Easier for shoppers and more insights and real time statistics for stores so they can better serve their customers and manage overall operations."