Microsoft and Kroger to create data-driven connected grocery stores

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Microsoft and Kroger are taking a leaf out of Amazon’s book by building futuristic “connected” grocery stores.

As part of a pilot project, Kroger, the largest supermarket in the U.S. by revenue, and Microsoft have transformed two retail stores, one near each of their respective headquarters — in Monroe, Ohio and Redmond, Washington — using technology powered by connected sensors and Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

The first fruit of the partnership is a digital shelving system, which was actually announced last year and is in the process of rolling out to dozens of Kroger stores across the U.S. Called EDGE (Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment), it bypasses paper price tags for digital shelf displays that can be changed in real time from anywhere, and it also can display promotions, dietary information, and more.

But the test stores are where Kroger and Microsoft are taking things to the next level. In addition to EDGE shelving, the system will include a new guided shopping experience, personalized ads, and something the partners are calling “pick-to-light.”

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How Amazon is using Whole Foods in a bid for total retail domination

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The Seattle giant believes selling you groceries is the key to selling you everything else.

At 9 a.m. on June 16, 2017, Whole Foods employees packed into the main level of the company’s Austin headquarters. Only an hour earlier Amazon had announced that it was acquiring the high-end natural grocer, and the corporate staffers were as shocked as the rest of the public. Amazon had been militant about leaks during the seven weeks that the two companies had been in negotiations, and the vast majority of those working inside the building had been unaware that the deal was afoot.

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Ingenious AI converts images of food into a list of ingredients

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Researchers at MIT have developed deep-learning algorithm that can compile a list of ingredients and even recommend recipes after looking at photos of food. The artificially intelligent system still needs some fine tuning, but this tool could eventually help us learn to cook, count calories, and track our eating habits.

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