Slyce Inc., makers of visual search software for retail, is rolling out a machine they call the part-finder kiosk. It will scan, identify and show you exactly where in a store you can find a certain product.
The Center City-based company is starting with hardware, and is piloting the machine at the Home Depot in South Philly on Columbus Boulevard. If you head to the store needing a replacement screw, hinge or bolt, for instance, you can place the part in the kiosk and it’ll tell exactly which aisle and where in that aisle you’ll be able to find your part.
Slyce CEO Ted Mann said the company spent about a year working on the kiosk. While Slyce’s retail-focused technology is cloud based, the kiosk is programmed to know the specific store’s inventory of products.
That means, yes, someone has to take a bunch of photos of every one of the about 5,000 screws, bolts and nuts in Home Depot’s fasteners section, which the kiosk is servicing at the moment. At first, Home Depot shipped Slyce a bunch of products to photograph.
“But that was not the most scalable way to go about this,” Mann said.
So Slyce built a training mode into the kiosk that will allow someone in the store to scan a product and upload it to the cloud along with its barcode and location in the store, Mann said.
The company has also pushed these “learned” products to the machine’s cloud, so all four kiosks currently being piloted have knowledge of the department’s full inventory. Mann said that other locations across the U.S. are considering piloting the machine, too.
Mann also said that the Slyce team took the kiosk to the National Retail Federation’s trade show this year for exhibition and feedback.
“We can definitely see this technology working in a bunch of different retailers, or for example, in the automotive industry,” Mann said.
And soon, he said, folks will start to see more of these part-finder kiosks rolling out into various stores, like auto retailer NAPA Auto Parts, in the coming months.
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