Automated Coffee Shops and Retail “BI”

Posted by on Aug 3, 2013 in Retail

Coming off the preceding post about a robotic-controlled retail chain store started here in Seattle, this latest enterprise smells like it was a spawn of the Seattle barista/technology scene. Whilst some would accuse the robots of stealing more jobs like they’re doing at an increasing rate at Amazon fulfillment centers, the more consistent processes and procedures needed by the average barista coulda/woulda/shoulda been replaced by machines long ago. The owner of the latest coffee concept agrees:

A human being can learn to compensate for the eccentricities of the brewing process, but for a machine to apply the skills of a trained barista in a consistent manner, consistency also has to be imposed on the coffee. This is achieved by blending it to homogeneity, roasting it to death, or allowing it to stale, all of which yield a predictably bland cup of coffee.

The machine isn’t going to probably be the most friendly barista you’ll ever meet, but let’s hope it does it’s job consistently and flawlessly, as it should. Greater automation is helping to fuel the “big data” beast for measurement and analytics as well. Which leads me to the other tech piece I saw in the news this week which piqued my interest because it greatly relates to digital signage. The video does it more justice than talking about it ever could:

Shopperception CES 2013

It’s even a step-up from technologies like Intel’s AIM Suite (formerly Cognovision) for its ability to measure and provide meaningful data to retailers. It’s more than just advertising, it’s the equivalent of Omniture web analytics meets Safeway. An interesting concept indeed.

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