US supermarket chain Coles is pilot-testing a new device meant to streamline the shopping process via digital shopping lists, according to a Computerworld article by Rohan Pearce. Called Hiku, the small, nearly circular handheld device is apparently designed to be part of the emerging smart home network.
Sporting WiFi connectivity, Hiku is used to add items to a user’s digital shopping list. It has a barcode scanner that can be used on items already stocked (but, presumably, running low) in the household, and also features speech recognition technology so that users can just speak the names of the products they need to buy. (This latter technology is provided by Nuance, maker of the Dragon Drive smart car system, among other voice biometrics solutions.) The digital shopping list can then be accessed via the Coles mobile app, or it can be used for home delivery.
As Pearce notes, it’s a somewhat similar concept to the Amazon Dash buttons, small devices meant to be affixed around the household for prodding whenever a staple commodity is running low and replenishments need to be delivered. As the Internet of Things continues to expand and the smart home gets smarter, we can expect more such gadgets going forward, which could make our lives easier and may offer exceptional benefits to those who might otherwise need assisted living arrangements in the home.