Latest update on 20 March 2016
Smartcart is the project name for a smart and connected shopping cart system including hardware, software, documentation, and support for retail business.
- Shoppers are greeted by shelves with targeted advertising
- Recipe reminders are given according to shopping behavior
- Retailers receive real time notifications of customer flows, stock shortage, as well as big data mined monthly reports
- Low margins are maintained by exploiting the convergence of embedded hardware, software, and shopping applications
- Intuitive features are introduced incrementally to patrons' and managers' existing behavior to minimize interruptions
- Both hand sized and trolly sized carts can be tracked
- Innovative cart wheels are exploited for harvesting energy
- Bluetooth and RFID are employed in existing retail design
- ZigBee and Z-Wave are employed for low power mesh coverage
- Computing nodes are custom configured to communicate in shelves and carts, while a dedicated edge gateway stores and forwards telemetric data without affecting data privacy
- The IoT system is designed according to (and extends) a promising Google labs beacon pattern called the Physical Web
Smartcart adds value to retail areas, serving customers and employees
Smartcart is unique, as shown by searching for 'smart connected cart' and finding that no existing projects implement or extend a Physical Web as Google has defined it. It also has a complementary human user interface for both retailer and consumer.
The project integrates legacy (Bluetooth) and modern (ZigBee, Z-Wave) communication transports to provide for a seamless shopping experience. It employs proven low power IoT messaging protocols (like MQTT) and showcases environmental efficiency by harvesting energy from wheel based carts with dynamo generators.
By promoting a pilot system, Smartcart will attract attention from market analysts and groups buying infrastructure with added value (like charger equipped restaurant tables.)
Smartcart is retail agnostic and can complement clothing, hardware, book, food, garden, textile, pet, or other stores where shopping carts are used.
Important! Electronic substitutions for plastic customer loyalty cards suffer from privacy considerations affecting both the shopper (who is annoyed by perceived data theft) and retailer (who is accountable to vendor contracts and identity laws.) Smartcart tracks the cart rather than the consumer and implicitly preserves customer loyalty while delivering on data collection of shopping patterns.
Smartcart is a potential student challenge at educational events and hackathons. Rapid prototypes and live demonstrations inspire and motivate conference delegates.
Biweekly progress reports and construction advice will be published in two or more online locations. A full length article will be published by a renowned publisher. The project plan is designed to benefit and add value to the community of IoT developers and their understanding of how connected devices can work toegether.
The project plan includes a timeline estimate and release roadmap.
The preliminary design includes a set of UML diagrams to be published in a general detailed design document located in the online archives.
Implementing a Edison beacon
Implementing a nRF52 beacon
Many software components rely on Node.js which is hand coded with custom package.json files at times. The MRAA and UPM libraries provide high level support for sensor platforms, and the Intel XDK is used for developing shelf bound IoT devices or when constructing user interfaces for H2M communication with the system. Apache Cordova provides a abstraction layer for those human user interfaces. Lastly, the Intel System Studio for Microcontrollers integrates Eclipse to provide an IDE for Intel Quark D2000 and SE equipped devices.
A hardware bill of materials is provided, and software can be freely downloaded from the project fileserver. Documentation for testers, system administrators, service technicians, managers, and users is available in the online archives. Staff carries out production deployment on a case by case basis to allow for custom configurations.
A first stage pilot launch serves as a proof of concept. In the last week of development, a limited scale prototype arrangement (no energy harvesting dynamo and large cart substituted with hand cart) is tested in a gateway connected six beacon building matrix. A shopping event is simulated.
A second stage pilot launch incorporates multiple large carts and commercial blind tests. It concludes the code and project completion date and depends on cooperation from local retailers.
- 1 Dell Edge 5000 (#1001)
- Beacon appliances (#1002)
- …or Edison devices (#1003)
- …or nRF52 devices (#1004)
- Wheelspin energy harvester (#1201)
- 1 Intel Edison (#1301)
- 1 Dell Venue 8 Pro 5000 tablet (#1401)
- 1 QR code reading smartphone (#1402)
The bill of materials accomodates one test scenario which is scalable to retail spaces of any practical size. Smartcart is an inexpensive shopping supplement to existing infrastructure.
The project was founded by Michael Schloh von Bennewitz and staffed by Michael and Flaki.
The project is self funded and hosted by Europalab Networks. We are interested in working with other groups, and will enter the project in calls to bid. A business plan is available to investors considering funding the project.
Smartcart is licensed under the GNU Public License version 3, and contains Embedded CACert Root Certificates. For more information please read the CACert root distribution license. Components of Smartcart contain software from other projects which are accordingly sublicensed.