JD.com, Intel set up IoT lab to explore 'smart retail' applications

JD.com and Intel have set up a research lab to identify ways Internet of Things (IoT) can be tapped to develop next-generation retail applications, including vending machines and modernised retail stores.

The move further broadened the two partner’s existing collaboration, in which Intel’s edge computing and computer vision architecture was used alongside JD.com’s visual algorithm to analyse in-store foot traffic and purchasing patterns.

These analytics had been deployed in the Chinese retailer’s unmanned D-Mart stores that featured smart shelves, sensors, smart cameras, digital signages, and cashierless checkout counters.

The new lab would tap Intel’s IoT architecture to develop next-generation retail applications such as vending machines, media and advertising services, and other technologies that could be used to modernise future stores.

JD.com’s vice president and head of big data platform, Zhi Weng, said the research facility would tap both companies’ expertise to bring online shopping experience to offline retail environments, and offer more personalised experience regardless of where consumers shopped.

Intel in September also announced plans to partner JD.com’s rival, Alibaba Group, in various initiatives including the launch of an edge computing platform and the creation of the Apsara Stack Industry Alliance.

The edge computing platform integrated Intel’s software, hardware, and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies with Alibaba Cloud’s IoT offerings. It was touted to use computer vision and AI to interpret data collected at the edge and generate business insights.

The Apsara Stack alliance aimed to build an ecosystem of hybrid cloud offerings for the Alibaba cloud service stack, which included big data, middleware, security, and IaaS.

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