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SK Telecom's Smart Cart syncs to phones, reminds you to buy milk

SK Telecom's Smart Cart syncs to phones, reminds you to buy milk
Joseph Volpe
Joseph Volpe|@jrvolpe|July 27, 2011 8:03 PM
Familiar with this scenario? You put off grocery shopping until the weekend, curse your way through the irate Sunday morning hordes, and then schlep your food all the way home only to realize you forgot to buy dish soap and use those coupons. Good thing, then, that SK Telecom is trialing a new service that syncs items from a smartphone app -- like a shopping list -- to its tablet PC-equipped Smart Cart. Hailed by the company as the first of its kind, this real-time aide uses indoor positioning to provide product info, tips and discounts while you peruse those crowded aisles. The WiFi-connected in-cart display also makes use of augmented reality, offering coupon clippers a high-tech solution for their cost-cutting predilections. If the current pilot test in China's Shanghai Lotus Supermarkets proves a success, expect to see this "personalized smart shopping service" doling out recommendations based on purchase history and location. Hear that? That's the sound of marketers licking their hyper targeting chops. Full PR is after break.
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SK Telecom Launches Pilot Test for Smart Cart in China

SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM) today announced the launch of a pilot test for Smart Cart in China. Smart Cart is an innovative service that uses a smartphone and a smart shopping cart equipped with tablet PC to offer diverse shopping-related information based on accurate indoor positioning technology. The company said the pilot test will begin today at the Shanghai store of Shanghai Lotus Supermarket Chain Store Co., Ltd.

SK Telecom's Smart Cart is the world's first shopping cart service that utilizes smartphones to provide information gathered through indoor positioning technology. Unlike previous RFID-based cart services provided by retailers that only showed product information and discount offers within stores, Smart Cart - through synchronization with smartphones - provides a wide variety of shopping tips, product information and discount/ special deal information in real time based on indoor positioning technology.

After downloading the Smart Cart application to their smartphones, customers can search for shopping/discount information, store coupons and draw up a shopping list. Then at supermarkets or retail stores, the customer's smartphone is synchronized with a tablet PC installed to a smart shopping cart through user authentication. Within the stores, depending on their location, customers can get useful information – e.g. catalogue, product information, discount information, etc. – and receive coupons using augmented reality technology. At the checkout counter, the tablet screen shows the list of purchased items, membership points and available coupons.

Since 2009, SK Telecom has been studying and developing diverse services and solutions based on its ICT capability and in the same vein, it started developing Smart Cart since 2009 reflecting opinions of relevant industries.

Indoor positioning technology uses both UWB and Zigbee to offer location information within error range of one meter and diverse real-time information updates appear on screen of tablet PCs attached to shopping carts via Wi-Fi networks.

SK Telecom expects that Smart Cart will become a more personalized smart shopping service when combined with customer information – e.g. shopping history, usage pattern, etc. – managed by existing retailers. Customers will shop conveniently through product recommendations based on analysis of user's shopping history and location information; manufacturers will be able to carry out targeted marketing for customers located in the store; and retailers will secure a new marketing channel that enables integrated and seamless communication with customers.

SK Telecom will identify areas that can be further improved through the pilot test in China, thereby enhancing the value and completeness of the service. The company is also planning to run pilot tests in Korea in the second half of 2011 through discussions with Korean retailers.

Park In-Sik, Executive Vice President and Head of Enterprise Business Division at SK Telecom said, "SK Telecom plans to build an ecosystem through which Smart Cart, developed to become an absolute necessity for retail, advertising and manufacturing industries, can firmly position itself as a new way of shopping for customers."