The Wait Is Over: New Phone App Will Tell You Which Grocery Store Line Is The Fastest By Utilizing Infrared

A new phone application was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week called ZipLine. The app will help consumers pick the quickest line in any retail situation. You will no longer have to wonder which Walmart line is going to move the quickest with the ZipLine app as it uses infrared sensors to monitor the number of people in any given line and how quickly the line is moving. It then calculates which line should be the fastest.

The new technology was created by Cambridge Consultants and is designed to give users the ability to always choose the best line to enter at any retail store location. Customers will never again be force to hop out of their queue as other lines seemingly speed through the checkout lane while you are still stuck in a never-ending line of shoppers.

Most retail shoppers have experienced at least once in their shopping experience the struggle with choosing the fastest checkout lane. You may enter a lane that appears to be shorter than others but quickly realize that there is a reason there are less people in the lane as it is moving at an exceptionally slow pace. Therefore, you have to make the decision as to whether you stay in line and wait it out or hop to another line and potentially lose your spot in this shorter lane if things speed up.

The ZipLine app plans to eliminate this issue by telling consumers exactly which line to enter for fastest service. So exactly how does ZipLine work? According to the Daily Mail, the company uses a combination of infrared technology and radio signals to determine how many people are in each lane and how fast each lane is moving. The information is then processed using a mathematical equation and tells the consumer which line is likely to get them through the checkout process fastest.

Tim Ensor, head of connected devices at Cambridge Consultants, discussed ZipLine, noting that it will likely be integrated into the department store’s own app making it free to customers. Ensor notes that businesses would be encouraged to utilize the app because it would provide a service to customers that could set it apart from other businesses. Additionally, it could be used as a competitive feature if the store consistently has faster checkout times.

Ensor notes that the technology works “over a number of miles and the technology could combine queue information from multiple outlets.” This means that customers could potential look at their phone to determine which coffee shop in a certain mile radius currently has the fastest checkout time. This could be a determining factor in selecting which store to go to on any particular day.

“Our ZipLine concept aims to show how taking a service design approach to a problem can give a retailer vital competitive edge by transforming the customer experience. In this example, we’re analyzing some complex sensor data – and turning it into intelligent information that can be shared with customers in a simple but meaningful way. Yet it has the potential to remove a major source of frustration for shoppers.”

CNET notes that the technology could also be used by retailers to monitor the efficiency of their employees and checkout lane speeds. Cambridge Consultants notes that they do not currently have any retailers with the technology in place; however, they note that the conversations are open.

What do you think about the potential of most mass retailers having the ZipLine technology in place? Would you utilize the app to determine the quickest checkout lane?

[Image via Cambridge Consultants]