Smart Shopping Assistant is a small electronic device which will guide the customers inside a mall. The device will have a big touch-screen and a special pen to touch the buttons on this screen in order to allow people to organize their shopping experience.
The details and of the main parts of the Smart Shopping Assistant are given below:
A barcode reader is an electronic device for reading printed barcodes. It consists of a light source, a lens and a light sensor translating optical impulses into electrical ones. Barcode readers contain decoder circuitry analyzing the barcode’s image data provided by the sensor and sending the barcode’s content to the scanner’s output port. The barcode reader, in our product, will have three main functions;
Scanning a barcode of a product will give important information about the product (name, description, price, category, promotions and location).
Helping consumers with the reading of the small printings on the product by enabling them to choose a suitable font size for themselves.
Replacing the check-out process and decreasing the long-waited queues. Consumers will have a buy option that they can purchase the product in any time. The information about the amount that the customer has to pay will be uploaded in the database, and the amount will be automatically withdrawn from their credit card at the end of the shopping. The customers will simply be able to go to the information desk with their customer card and proceed without any payment. They will only retrieve the bill.
The barcode reader will also enable the database of our Smart Shopping Assistant to store information about the purchased items and in this way, the device will be able to create a profile for each user.
A touchscreen is a display that can detect the presence and location of a touch within the display area. The touchscreen will enable the customers to interact with what is displayed directly on the screen. It will show the basic information such as the name, location, cost and campaigns about the products. It will also have a feature to compare two or more products too see the advantages and disadvantages of them, relative with their cost.
The card reader is a device that can be used for any pocket-sized card with embedded integrated circuits which can process data. Using the card reader is also a form of strong security authentication for single sign-on within large companies and organizations.
The card reader panel will be used by the customers for identification, authentication, and data storage.
2. The literature about the underlying technologies:
Smart Shopping Assistant will be a product which uses many different art software and hardware technologies. In this part of the document, the detailed analysis for the current standards, some new research area topics and new concepts will be explained. These are some key ideas and technologies that we will use for our device.
1) Electronic Knowledge Markets
An electronic market gives the user the opportunity to complete four essential tasks: These are
to get information about the offered products and services,
to signal an interest to the provider,
the processing of the contract and
the accomplishment of the transaction.
2) Smart and Adaptive Product Technologies
With the advent of new research areas, such as Ubiquitous Computing, Ambient Computing, and Ambient Intelligence, digital media and physical environments increasingly merge into homogenous interaction environments. A natural result of this convergence is the introduction of new product types that integrate physical with informational presences. Results from different areas, such as agent-based systems, robotics, machine learning, and mechatronics, will be required for intelligent processing of contextual information.
An Adaptive Smart Product is able to:
explain themselves to customers in buying situations
discuss solutions with technicians in service situations
actively communicate with business processes
dynamically set up relationships with other products and supporting services.
A smart product is basically a product which sells itself to right customer in order to maximize the customer satisfaction. So holding the information about a smart product with the conventional database methods will be too difficult. There are many researches on these state of the art topics. And it is a good demonstration for an innovation behind the Smart Shopping Assistant
3) Barcode vs RFID
The RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is becoming more popular every day. Many innovative ideas work with this technology. On the other side barcode became an industry standard for the Turkey. There is a huge market for barcode readers because of the high number of super markets in Turkey. So Smart Shopping Assistant inevitably supports barcode technology for the targeted market in Turkey. However, in the later versions of the Smart Shopping Assistant we will add RFID support for collecting more accurate data from the customers.
Hybrid solutions that leverage both bar code and RFID technology are one way that customers can meet the compliance guidelines of Wal-Mart and the Department of Defense (DOD) without overhauling their entire data collection process. The key to deploying a hybrid solution is understanding the differences and benefits of both technologies and taking this into account before implementing RFID in your operations.
Bar codes have become the standard for identifying and tracking objects in the supply chain whether it is cereal boxes at the grocery store or children’s books at the public library. Although bar codes are ubiquitous in the supply chain, RFID technology offers key benefits that increase transparency across the product handling lifecycle.
So, Smart Shoping Assistant will use a hybrid technology, both barcodes in object tracking and RFIDs in customer identification.
4) Wireless Technologies and Tip’n Tell
Our product will communicate with a centralized server all the time in order to get the informations about the products. Smart Shooping Assistant will use one of the many wi-fi standards. Many products conform to the 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n wireless standards collectively known as Wi-Fi technologies. Additionally, Bluetooth and various other non Wi-Fi technologies also exist, each also designed for specific networking applications. Smart shooping Assistant will use 802.11g standard. In 2002 and 2003, WLAN products supporting a newer standard called 802.11g emerged on the market. 802.11g attempts to combine the best of both 802.11a and 802.11b. 802.11g supports bandwidth up to 54 Mbps, and it uses the 2.4 Ghz frequency for greater range. 802.11g is backwards compatible with 802.11b, meaning that 802.11g access points will work with 802.11b wireless network adapters and vice versa.
Pros of 802.11g – fast maximum speed; signal range is good and not easily obstructed
Cons of 802.11g – costs more than 802.11b; appliances may interfere on the unregulated signal frequency
The Tip ‘n Tell architecture enables producers to set up interactive product communication scenarios on products and product bundles, so-called Smart Products. According to the requirements of the communication process, different content types are used and integrated into the flow of communication. In the core of Tip ‘n Tell reference implementation we use semantic technologies, such as RDF and OWL-DL. By embedding online-based information services into Smart Products customers get access to flexibility and richness of product information as then only knew from the online shopping sector before.
Here is a possible implementation scenario for Tip’n Tell architecture.
References for this part:
3. Notes on possible applications of our product:
Mainly, the Smart Shopping Assistant can be used everywhere within the limits of a shopping mall. Below are some stores in which the Smart Shopping Assistant can be used:
Movies: DVD/VHS films
Music: CD catalogues
Food and Drinks
Clothing and Accessories
Jewelry & Watches
Health & Beauty Centers
4. Existing competition in the World:
4.1 G Smart Shop Assistant V2.0.18
Information about the product taken from http://g-smart.handster.com/shop_assistant.html:
Shop Assistant has been specially built to bring an all-in-one feature rich shopping list solution for all shoppers. Not only do you get all the standard features that you expect, but also bring some fantastic and exciting new features that truly make it unique and stand out from the crowd. Ideal for regular shoppers, Shop Assistant allows you to create multiple master shopping lists and for every trip, a trip list allowing you to choose which items you need that trip out of the master list.
Advantages of our product when compared to this product are:
*It is only software. You need hardware to use it.
*You need to find and download the database of shopping mall.
*Not unique. You can use it in any shopping mall.
*It only makes a list, does not help customers in the actual shopping process.
*There is no difference between write a list on paper or writing in this program.
4.2 User-Requirement Driven Shopping Assistant
Information about the product taken from: http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20080308630
Device, method and system for providing shopping assistance information to customers using RFID tagged items in a store equipped with on-board or hand-held shopping cart RFID readers and display devices modified to have a personal product specification criteria data input interface.
Read more: http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20080308630#ixzz0TnvCOlTt
The present invention provides a device, method and system for providing shopping assistance information to customers using RFID tagged items in a store equipped with on-board or hand-held shopping cart RFID readers and display devices modified to have a personal product specification criteria data input interface in accordance with this invention.
Particularly, the present invention modifies the usual hand-held or onboard shopping cart attachment device that communicates with the store’s central computer and product database to retrieve information stored therein regarding a chosen item such as manufacturer’s name, suggested price, product contents and ingredients to assist the shopper in making choices that are in conformance to his or her specific product requirement parameters that are entered by the shopper into the onboard shopping cart RFID reader via a data entry interface as provided in this invention. All of the usual functions of the on-board shopping assistance device are retained, but the improved shopping assistance device and system and method of use thereof enable the user to carefully screen potential purchases for adherence to that particular user’s own special criteria or profile and it enables alerting the user when any prospective purchase product does not meet the entered criteria.
*Turkish production, made in Turkey.
*Will use barcode reader and process over bar coded items as there is not RFID tagged items are spread in our country.
* Only informative for shopped items, not reducing cashier payments or shopping duration.
4.3 Smart Shopping Cart
Information about the product taken from: http://www.ece.stevens-tech.edu/~hhe/SeniorDWebsite/smartshoppingcart/information/SD_FinalReport.pdf
In today’s technology, many companies are developing products that ensure convenience towards all people. One of the conveniences that are involved will be providing them with a new and easy shopping experience. With the problem of waiting in a long queue to checking-out the shopping items, new technologies must be implemented to provide the lowest delay time. Thus, the project team is developing a Smart Shopping Cart, a system that allows faster check-out. The user would scan the Universal Product
Code (UPC) that is on the shopping item using the barcode reader. The barcode information will be stored into a computer’s memory, and checked against a database from which it would retrieve the appropriate information. A software package will link up the device with the database and Bluetooth device. It will also enable the microprocessor to calculate the total price for all scanned items, and display it on the
LCD screen. If the customer is ready to make a payment, he would pass the cart through the cashier. The total price will be sent to the cashier using Bluetooth, and the receipt will be automatically printed. All the customer has to do is to pay for the total price without unloading the items from the cart. The team expects that the smart shopping cart will be a more reliable form of check-out process that will decrease the amount of time a customer has to wait while shopping.
The team’s prototype unit consists of a barcode scanner, a PDA to act as a user interface, and a laptop computer that stores the database, and acts as a check out counter. In the system, WiFi will be used to connect the PDA and the database, while Bluetooth will be used to connect the PDA with the check out counter.
*It doesn’t integrate the information based shopping assistant with cashier payment reduction. For that reason, our project combines two of the projects above.
*You need a PDA to use this system.
4.4 IBM Shopping Buddy
IBM’s “Shopping Buddy”, which is a wireless, touch-screen computer attached to a shopping cart, allows shoppers to scan items as they place them in the cart.
*It doesn’t do anything more than scanning and recording our shopping cart ingredients. Our products scope is more variable than that.
4.5 IBM Personal Shopping Assistant
Information about the product taken from: http://whitepapers.zdnet.com/abstract.aspx?docid=360643
Although the grocer already had an existing loyalty card program, it wanted a more precise, cost-effective way to reach customers – not after they made their purchases, but during the decision-making process. The solution was the IBM Personal Shopping Assistant called Shopping Buddy, which consists of a data management system, Wi-Fi network, infrared technology and Bluetooth transmissions centered around touch-screen computers mounted on shopping cart handles. It uses IBM Store Integration Framework, IBM WebSphere Application Server, IBM WebSphere MQ messaging software, IBM Tivoli management software, IBM Mobile Tablet for Retail, as well as Cuesol’s Cart Companion browser software.
The Personal Shopping Assistant shopping cart, harnessing radio frequency identification tags and global positioning system technology, alerts customers to promotions and personalized discounts as they walk through the aisles.
5. Possible competition which might come around at the expected time of your production
Information about ongoing projects can be found in:
5.1. Microsoft and MediaCart prepping self-checkout carts, with RFID, video and grocery lists for good measure
Information taken from: http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/14/microsoft-and-mediacart-prepping-self-checkout-carts-with-rfid/
We’ve heard plenty of these initiatives before, but with the likes of Microsoft pushing the tech, it might not be too long before we’re all pushing a super-connected shopping cart down the aisle. Microsoft’s aQuantive acquisition last year has the company looking to new ad venues, and apparently shopping carts are one of those. Microsoft has been working with a company called MediaCart which builds a cart-mounted computer that helps consumers navigate the store, and then checks them out when they’re done. Microsoft wants to bring video ads into the mix, and the companies will start testing out the carts in ShopRite markets in the second half of 2008. Shoppers can bring their list to the store with a swipe of their loyalty card, and RFID tracks their movements around the store to pinpoint advertisements and other useful information. That’s a whole lot of tech coming soon to a bum near you.
IBM and Microsoft
6. Competition from similar products, i.e., similar products which can fulfill a similar gap in the market if any:
Online shopping is the process consumers go through to purchase products or services over the Internet. An online shop, e-shop, e-store, internet shop, webshop, webstore, online store, or virtual store evokes the physical analogy of buying products or services at a bricks-and-mortar retailer or in a shopping mall.
The metaphor of an online catalog is also used, by analogy with mail order catalogs. All types of stores have retail web sites, including those that do and do not also have physical storefronts and paper catalogs. Online shopping is a type of electronic commerce used for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions.
Benefits of online shopping:
Bargaining power of consumers. They enjoy a wider choice
Supplier power. It is more difficult for consumers to manage a non-digital channel.
Internet increases commoditization
Threat of new entrants. Online means it is easier to introduce new services with lower over-heads
Threat of substitutes
Rivalry among competitors. It is easier to introduce products and services to different markets
7. Pricing information of similar products:
It is very variable. There is a product consisting of only software which is 9.95$ and also another product which can be used on hand: 250$. So we can say that our cost may be varying in the market as we combine those properties in one product.
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