Instacart has just launched a new way to serve snacks and drinks at Boston’s Fenway Park, calling it the Caper Counter and enabling it with an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered point-of-sale system.
Developed in partnership with Philadelphia-based Aramark Sports + Entertainment, the new Caper Counter checkout system provides fast, contact-free transactions of food and beverage selection for fans through visual recognition and artificial intelligence technology, helping to reduce transaction times.
Fenway now offers a trio of Caper Counters for contact-free checkout experiences at select areas around the stadium. Technology scans packaged food and beverage items such as peanuts, soda, beer and candy, allowing the customer to complete a purchase in seconds while enhancing health and safety throughout the ballpark.
Caper Counter uses computer vision and sensor fusion technology to visually detect and identify items based on their shape, color, key features and sizes. Customers place items for purchase on the Caper Counter, where they will be automatically detected and added to the cart for checkout. Customers then select pay and choose from either a credit card, loaded ticket or team rewards as their method of payment. They then gather their food and beverages, completing a seamless, autonomous transaction, according to San Francisco-based Instacart.
Sports fans can also purchase via a Caper Counter at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Caper Counter is one example of the in-store technologies offered as a part of Instacart Platform, a suite of enterprise-grade technologies to enhance and digitize retail experiences. Retailers that have a smaller physical footprint and SKU count can mount their own Caper Counters, allowing customers to purchase a handful of items at a time.
“Nothing compares to the experience of attending a game in person at the stadium, but we know fans increasingly want a more engaging, seamless and contact-free checkout experience,” says Lindon Gao, Instacart’s VP of engineering. “By helping to speed up the checkout experience, fans can spend less time buying their peanuts and beer, and more time where they want to, in the stands, cheering on their team. On average, Caper Counter decreases transaction times by approximately 65%. We’re excited to continue bridging the gap between in-store and online experiences through our omnichannel solutions, and look forward to expanding our partnership with Aramark Sports + Entertainment in the future.”
Instacart also offers Caper Carts to larger retailers. The smart carts auto-detect items instantly with AI-powered cameras, and Instacart Platform offers retailers access to the technologies behind Instacart’s consumer marketplace to power their own digital properties and retail operations. The technology that powers Caper AI’s checkout counters is a computer vision solution that’s capable of object detection, backed by a machine-learning system that uses a database of more than 20 million items to match the items in a customer’s cart to a database listing. As such, according to Instacart, its platform brings together the technologies retailers need to improve the consumer experience online or in-store, and to digitize the end-to-end grocery operation.
In other recent news, Amazon has collaborated with the Houston Astros to bring the e-tailer’s checkout-free Just Walk Out technology to two food and beverage stores at Minute Maid Park, and the technology has also just debuted at two food and beverage stores at UBS Arena, home of the NHL’s New York Islanders.