Tesco Uses IBM Augmented Reality Mobile App to Manage Product Placement

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Cheshunt, UK - 26 Feb 2014: IBM (NYSE: IBM) is working with Tesco (NYSE: TESO), one of the world's leading retailers, on a first-of-a-kind collaboration to help it arrange products on store shelves according to display plans, which will create a better shopping experience for its customers.  

Major retailers face constantly changing environments, and must consider daily variations in consumer demand, manufacturer promotions or holidays to achieve the right arrangement and assortment of products in the store.  

In response, scientists at IBM’s Research lab in Haifa, Israel developed a mobile application based on IBM’s Augmented Reality Shopping Advisor. Tesco colleagues run it on a mobile phone or tablet to photograph and capture the current status of the store’s aisles including quantity and location of products. The application then connects to Tesco’s product database to analyze and identify the images. It compares the current display with the planned arrangement and instantly superimposes information that reveals insufficient quantities, missing products or misplaced items.  

Tesco is currently testing the IBM solution at a pilot location near London. 

“Delivering a better shopping experience to our customers includes making sure products are well stocked and easy to find," said Mike McNamara, CIO, Tesco. “The IBM application will help us to improve store operations beyond the current manual processes and barcode-based methods." 

Typically, Tesco colleagues have to check products on every shelf against a physical plan and manually log inventory levels. A smart solution that digitizes and automates this process will help Tesco improve both its operations and the consumer shopping experience.  

For example, products incorrectly placed or lying flat instead of facing the aisle can frustrate consumers who can’t find what they’re looking for. The Augmented Reality Shopping Advisor can detect these types of problems and generate an alert on the mobile device with instructions for the corrective action required.   

“This collaboration with Tesco shows how mobile technology can be used to create a smarter, more convenient experience for consumers and retailers alike,” said Sima Nadler, Retail Research Lead, IBM Research. “It also demonstrates that today’s most compelling advances in mobile technology result from how the devices are used, rather than the devices themselves. By using mobile to maximize inventory and sales, enterprises can stay ahead of the competition.” 

The augmented reality mobile project with Tesco is part of IBM’s First-of-a-Kind program that brings IBM researchers and clients together to validate new technologies on real business problems and growth opportunities. These and other digital experience projects are being pursued at the IBM Customer Experience Lab, part of the new IBM Interactive Experience consulting practice.  

As part of the IBM MobileFirst portfolio, this solution can help organizations transform in to a mobile enterprise. 

For more information on IBM Interactive Experience, visit www.ibminteractive.com. To learn more about IBM MobileFirst solutions visit http://www.ibm.com/mobilefirst. Follow IBM’s innovation breakthroughs on Twitter at @IBMResearch.

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