Cashier is the second largest occupation in America, with more than 3 million people holding the job in 2013. It soon might be a job of the past, though, as Microsoft is working on technology that would automate checkout lines in order to help businesses compete with Amazon, Reuters reports.
Earlier this year, Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar grocery store, which introduced cashier-free shopping. Customers scan a smartphone app linked to a credit card when they pass through a turnstile to get into the store, then cameras and weight sensors on shelves determine what they buy. To help keep other businesses competitive as Amazon expands, Microsoft is testing its own system that would track what people add to their carts, while also attempting to keep the technology inexpensive enough that grocery stores and other retailers can afford to use it.
"This is the future of checking out for convenience and grocery stores," Gene Munster, the head of research at Loup Ventures, told Reuters. Loop Ventures estimates the automated checkout market in the United States is worth some $50 billion. Jeva Lange