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Breaking Barcodes: Is Japanese Tech Changing the Retail Game?
By: Emory Brown
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Just when the world was getting over the amazement of QR codes, technology has smacked us in the face again with brilliance. Brain Corporation and the University of Hyogo in Japan have created a way to take customer service and sales tracking to a new level with the invention of the “Bakery Scan.”

We’ve all been to the bakery. The minute you walk in, there are rows of donuts, cakes, and everything a sweet tooth could desire. Yet unlike the customer who knows their favorites by heart, it can be a daunting task for a new employee to learn an entire menu in a matter of weeks. The “Bakery Scan” uses state-of-the-art cameras and scanning software to identify the food placed on the checkout counter by recognizing the shape and color of each item.

Now, we thought we were doing something in fast food with the simplified cash registers that allow checkout lines to move seamlessly. Bakery employees don’t have to do anything but let the “Bakery Scan” take a peek and get the customer out of the checkout line. It can even tell when an item is a tad bit overdone. This is ideal for businesses that want to help new employees or part-time employees as they scale the “learning curve.” This ensures that customers who are used to having great service continue to have that experience without sacrificing the brand due to a new hire’s lack of “Apple Fritter” vernacular.

As we all know, new technology always has little glitches that we have to endure until the new version. The people at Brain Corporation have even taken that into account by allowing the “Bakery Scan” to give cashiers a list of options to choose from when it can’t identify an item. Plus, if you are into hatching the age of the robots prior to one of our friends in Silicon Valley making the real I Robot, retailers can pair the “Bakery Scan” with the “Bakebot” and presto…a 24-hour bakery with only one attendant on staff. With a price tag of $20,000 per system, the “Bakery Scan” is going to make its debut in the states soon.

So what does this mean for metrics and research models that thrive off of the “tried-and-true” barcode system? I guess someone had to break the code one day.


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About the Author
Emory Brown is an award-winning creative director/writer whose mission is to spread the gospel of what great marketers can do when they put their heads together and work together for the greater good and not the bottom line. Working with many esteemed clients, his portfolio of work ranges in genre from conservative to ultra-modern including American Family Insurance, United Airlines, Mazda 6 and RX-8, Illinois Lottery, Tyson, Miller Genuine Draft, Nike Air Force 1, and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.  
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