Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Visiting the Metro Future Store in Tönisvorst



As part of the RFID courses I have been giving together with Matthias Lampe for the European EPC Competence Center (EECC) for some years now I finally had the chance to visit Metro's new Future Store in Tönisvorst.
First of all, it's a brand new hypermarket huge in size with wide alleys which makes the market quite appealing even without the 'future' label.
What attracts media and what probably is most appealing are a couple of gadgets:

  • a digital advertising column
    built of a rotating line of led's

  • a self-checkout for customer's
    reading the barcode with their
    mobile phones (as nowhere
    mentioned: which by the way
    was developed
    by Robert Adelmann of ETH)

  • download of the 'supermarket'
    ringtone via bluetooth (I wonder
    who will ever do that, but
    I might be wrong;)

  • the 'multi-component' menue -
    works without technology, based
    on color codes, one can easily
    'customize' meals based certain
    side-dishes and main courses -
    the color code helps for achieving
    'compatibility'...
    I can imagine that as quite successfull.

  • the 'sound shower' removes the
    need of putting on heads when
    listening to CD's since the sound
    is directed only to the user
    standing under the shower.
    It's a quite fascinating experience.
    Just imagine what you could do
    when covering the entire ceiling
    with tiles of that system and
    combining it with indoor
    localization...unobtrusive
    whispering anytime anywhere.

  • then there is the wine testing,
    operated through supermarket's
    member card.
    Looks nice and works well.

  • the make-up machine gives
    suggestions on products by
    virtual make-up: user's
    photo get's overlayed
    with the make-up effects.


  • the skin machine evaluates
    the user's fat in the skin
    and recommends products.
    Well...without a guided tour,
    I probably would not have
    spent attention to that machine...


  • then, there is the check-out
    which I have seen in operation
    in the US already years ago.
    It works but at least currently
    there are plenty of human
    'helpers' in place.


  • Finally, I could see the first
    'kill-tag' machine. It works but
    'interestingly, since May 2008
    only five users have ever killed
    tags' mentioned our guide proudly
    and deriving from that that users
    wouldn't care about RFID anymore.
    But why should they if in the
    current store not even a single
    product is tagged with RFID!?


Overall, it was a nice visit - just it had nothing to do with RFID as it was our course visitors' and ourselves' expectation...
Finally, the famous robot did not work either;(

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