Over the past few months, a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Levittown, New York, has been quietly transforming. With artificial intelligence-enabled cameras, interactive displays and a massive data center, this store suggests a retail future that seems like science fiction.
But this store isn’t just a shiny new object, equipped with tech for the sake of tech. It’s a unique real-world shopping environment designed to explore the possibilities artificial intelligence can contribute to the store experience. It’s Walmart’s new Intelligent Retail Lab – or “IRL” for short.
While the application of AI in e-commerce is now table stakes, there haven’t been many physical explorations of its potential. But IRL is designed to do just that.
Walmart’s tech incubator Store No 8 has positioned the store within one of the company’s busiest locations. Testing new, innovative ideas within a real store containing over 30,000 items is an opportunity that Mike Hanrahan, CEO of IRL, finds exhilarating.