S'pore supermart to roll out RFID cart

Local supermarket chain Cold Storage, will deploy new shopping carts suited up with radio frequency identification technology in its new store later this year.

SINGAPORE--Local supermarket chain Cold Storage says it will be the first in Asia to implement "technology-enabled" shopping carts by the end of this year.

Produced by Media Cart Asia, the trolley will be able to identify the shopper's location and profile via RFID (radio frequency identification) and display relevant information such as item location and targeted advertisements, via an LCD screen mounted at the front of the cart.

The cart, dubbed MediaCart, will make its debut at Cold Storage's new outlet at Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research's (A*Star) upcoming R&D hub Fusionopolis, which is scheduled to open in the third quarter of this year.

The supermarket chain did not specify details on whether, and when, it will introduce the cart in its other outlets. To date, it has 87 stores across Singapore.

Cold Storage's deployment will test features such as a "product locator", which displays a map of the supermarket and location of the product. According to Media Cart, the supermart can also choose to test and integrate a loyalty card program that will allow shoppers to generate personalized shopping lists through a Web portal and have these displayed on the cart whilst they shop.

The MediaCart project is supported by A*Star, which drives R&D initiatives in the country, government body Spring Singapore and the National RFID Centre, which Media Cart Asia said it has been working with since September 2007. Media Cart is a retail marketing company.

A Spring spokesperson told ZDNet Asia the government agency contributed funding to the project via its Technology Innovation Programme (TIP), under which Spring sponsors "up to 50 percent of a project's qualifying cost".

The MediaCart will incorporate an integrated circuit reader chip produced by A*Star's Institute of Microelectronics (IME). Exploit Technologies, A*Star's commercialization arm, said in a statement that this helped "drive down the cost of the cart significantly" and is the latest application of the chip in a commercial product.