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Kroger rolls out visual AI-based self-checkout

Kroger receipt
Kroger is streamlining self-checkout with computer vision.

The Kroger Co. is moving beyond the pilot stage with a self-checkout solution that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision technology.

America's largest grocery retailer has been steadily expanding use of self-service checkouts at locations across the country, and is now implementing a solution it developed using Everseen’s Visual AI. This technology leverages high-resolution cameras and a combination of computer vision and AI capabilities developed on Nvidia’s Accelerated Computing AI Platform.

The Everseen Visual AI platform captures large volumes of unstructured video data, which it integrates with structured POS data feeds to analyzes and make inferences about data in real time. To support the platform, Kroger is deploying Lenovo Edge AI servers equipped with Nvidia GPUs.

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Each Lenovo server is capable of handling unstructured data from up to 20 high-resolution cameras in real time. Video data is sent from the Visual AI platform at self-checkouts to the Lenovo Edge AI infrastructure. GPU acceleration for AI and analytics enables the company to analyze data in real time for instant insights into activity at the checkout.

For example, if a shopper fails to scan an item successfully, the self-checkout system will flag the error on screen and prompt the customer to self-correct. If the customer is unable to resolve the issue themselves, the system will alert a store associate via a mobile device, so they can intervene and rescan the item.

Following a successful pilot implementation of the Lenovo and Everseen solutions, Kroger has rolled out the AI-based self-checkout platform at 1,700 grocery stores, with plans to have the new solution up and running at all locations in the near future.

According to Kroger, it is reporting fewer errors at self-checkout, with over 75% of self-checkout errors corrected without employee intervention. The company says this also translates into reduced retail shrink and a more accurate view of what stock is going out of the store, which in turn boosts inventory replenishment and on-shelf availability for customers, ultimately increasing sales.

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“The Lenovo Edge AI servers and Everseen’s Visual AI platform fit in seamlessly with our existing self-checkout systems, and make the checkout process more robust, in a way that’s non-disruptive for our customers,” said Chris McCarrick, senior manager of asset protection solutions and technology, Kroger. “Now, if customers make an error when scanning, the system will give them a gentle nudge to get things back on track. In fact, over 75% of the time, customers are able to resolve scanning errors themselves, with no intervention from our associates, which makes their job a little easier. It really is a win-win situation.”

Based in Cincinnati, Kroger operates 2,800 stores under a variety of banners across the U.S., including Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith's, King Soopers, Fry's, QFC, City Market, Owen's, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker's, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Pick 'n Save, Metro Market, and Mariano's.

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