Veea and iFree launch smart shopping trolley

  • October 13, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Hong Kong-based iFree Group and its partner Veea from New York launched the Trollee smart shopping cart at Qualcomm’s Smart Cities Accelerate event in San Diego last month.

Trollee is a smart shopping cart platform that leverages hybrid edge-cloud computing, IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), indoor positioning systems, contextual digital advertising and other technologies powered by Veea’s VeeaHub platform that aims to help big box and supermarket retail bridge the online-to-offline customer journey and experiences.

“Retailers must join the digital transformation revolution in order to grow in today’s hyper-competitive markets,” said Allen Salmasi, CEO of Veea. “Trollee offers an easy-to-use, cost-effective, and impactful platform to grow profit margins through increased sales, customer loyalty and new profit centres, while eliminating cost overheads and finding new efficiencies. This breakthrough innovation provides all of that in a fun, easy to use, interactive and immersive way, with the ability to share those experiences with friends and family members in real time, which can make the in-store ads and promotions go viral keeping customers coming back for a more fun-filled shopping experience.”

In-store trials are now underway in south-east Asia, China and Japan and are garnering positive feedback from major retailers. One of the region’s largest supermarket chains has been collaborating closely in the development of Trollee.

Veea’s AdEdge application runs on VeeaHub’s Linux server to deliver the content to Trollee’s display. AdEdge is a full-featured end-to-end advertising platform offering cloud-based and local management of the in-store advertisements. Retailers can optionally implement other AdEdge-supported offerings such as smart digital signage and, augmented reality (AR) throughout the store, further supported by an SDK for the retailer’s smartphone or smart glasses, smart unattended store within the store, and several others alongside Trollee or independently.

VeeaHub is a smart computing hub platform, with a software architecture and a range of wired and wireless connectivity, supported by cloud-based network management, monitoring and maintenance services. The VeeaHub software platform’s Linux server runs user applications in complete isolation in secure docker containers and supports multiple applications concurrently on one or several VeeaHub units across the mesh network installed at the retail location in a manner similar to the way wifi access points are installed.

VeeaHub’s integrated platform provides enterprise-grade Wifi 6, IoT and cellular connectivity, including 4G and 5G SD-WAN services, as either a primary or a failover WAN connection, with a cloud-based security stack for Trollee and other applications within the store. It incorporates IoT connectivity including Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Classic, Zigbee and LoRaWan. VeeaHub nodes installed on the local network instantaneously create a self-organising connectivity mesh, called vMesh, that simultaneously provides for a computing mesh, microservice-based service mesh, application mesh and edge intelligence mesh that also supports accurate indoor positioning.

Advertising content, special offers and/or coupons for products in the store are cached on VeeaHub units and are delivered instantaneously when a shopper is near the advertised products. Real-time downloading of this content from the cloud wouldn’t result in satisfactory user experiences due to latency and lack of tight integration with indoor positioning systems.

Shoppers can find what they need more efficiently while checkout is streamlined, reducing staffing requirements. Based on shoppers’ journeys through the store, retailer’s planograms can be optimised for most shoppers through machine learning and AI. Customers can use this virtual, personal shopping device as a concierge to seek recommendations, discounts and product reviews.

VeeaHub powers the Trollee platform for delivery of ads and promotions in real time, linked to location beacons in-store, so retailers and brands can engage customers at the right moment to influence their buying decisions. It leverages its on-board AI and activity monitoring data collection software to carry out simple automated decisions that enhance the overall retail experience and satisfaction, thus improving customer loyalty and profitability.

The platform may optionally be integrated with the retailer’s loyalty programme and/or PoS to tie together all the above with customer purchase history to deliver a more satisfying shopping experience while increasing the value of the in-store advertising by reporting the ad conversions.

“This is a revolutionary technology that truly enhances revenue opportunities for the hypermarket retailers,” said Soh Wei Hong, CTO of iFree Group. “Trollee can be fitted to existing shopping cart stock, giving retailers significant cost savings and an immediate roll out that will quickly cover their initial investment. Trollee is driving martech, edge AI, data intelligence, smart IoT, AR spatial computing and omnichannel to push smart retail technology to the next level.”