Poland's Zabka enters the no-cashier race

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As cashierless stores try to break out of the lab and into the real world, a deployment in Poland could open up as many as 5,000 locations to the technology.

Zabka, which operates a Polish convenience store chain, will collaborate with store technology developer AiFi to open stores using artificial intelligence and sensor fusion, a type of technology that allows connected devices to communicate. This will accumulate and combine data such as weight and image to form a technology model to tailor and support checkout-free shopping across the chain.

AiFi recently unveiled its NanoStore, a retail concept that can set up in a manner of hours. In an earlier interview, AiFi founder Steven Gu said the Santa Clara-based AiFi was seeking locations that could benefit from a shopping model in which consumers quickly check in, pick up their items and walk out.

That fits transportation hubs such as airports and transit stations, but also small convenience stores. Zabka has a limited range of items and is usually a few hundred square feet.

As Zabka and AiFi build tech for the convenience store chain, other competitors are seeking to fit the diverse underlying technology schemes across larger networks beyond the concept and test stores that have marked early deployments.

Amazon Go, which hopes to open up to 3,000 stores over the next three years, has opened less than a dozen so far in the U.S. It is scouting locations such as airports, larger department stores and other alternative locations for Amazon Go outlets, including its Whole Foods network.

Rival Walmart has opened a pair of retail technology labs to develop use cases for no-cashier checkout and other store technology such as augmented reality.

Elsewhere, a Chinese convenience chain called Bingobox has opened more than 300 cashierless locations; and the French grocer Casino has opened a no-cashier store in Paris.

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Retailers Internet of things Poland