“Life Imitates Art”— Oscar Wilde

Recall how Star Trek characters shop using their personal access display devices (PADDs). No cash, no lines. Simply scan and go.

This is no longer science fiction. Retailers, such as Amazon (www.amazon.com) and Wal-Mart (www.walmart.com) strive to use technology to enhance and streamline their shoppers experience. Aided by innovation from technology companies, such as, Zippen (www.getzippen.com and Trigo Vision (www.trigovision.com) who are developing applications and technoloiges to make this art a reality.

Our future is using smartphones and mobile apps. Allowing shoppers to use their smartphone cameras. To scan individual barcodes and a mobile app linked to a preferred account or payment card. Simply use virtual carts and a pay-in app to bypass check out lines.

This digital trek will take 5 years.

Amazon Go is a mobile commerce grocery store located in Seattle. These stores and inventory is small. Amazon is aiming small to miss small. To more cost effectively pilot and test new technologies and processes. For the store’s size is indicative of high infrastructure costs to install and operate multiple cameras, scanners and sensors. Amazon Go will soon see competition but they all will face more risks. For example, economic impact on existing employees who may lose their current jobs, uneven levels of user experiences, consumer trust and/or adequate inventory.

What should organizations (as in entities) do over the next 5 years?

1. Develop organizational capability and expertise in smartphone apps and scanners, QVR codes, biometric sensors, machine learning and visual recognition software.
2. Contribute to activities that offer larger pilots with more users and inventory to develop best practices and lessons learned.
3. Participate in UX improvement programs to improve quality and reliability for the user experience and self check-out processes.
4. Institute employee retraining programs. For example, cashiers can be retrained to perform other duties.
5. Redefine success. For implementing technology to be cool may not always equate with desired success. Recall Alibaba Group (www.alibabagroup.com) using RFID tags to allow consumers to grab, scan and walk out with their items? Pricing and inventory are equal to conveinence.

As these barriers are reduced. Expect charitable organziations and entertainment venues to become interested. They will adopt and adapt these processes and technologies to better connect with their consumers, donors, employees, parishioners or volunteers.

What Do You Recommend?