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DUBAI: The first cashier-free supermarket in the Middle East, recently opened in Dubai, relies on remotely-monitored R290 vertical plug-ins from Epta.

The futuristic 100m2 Carrefour City+ store, opened last month at the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, offers a complete and quick shopping experience. The shopper downloads the dedicated app, shows the QR Code at the entrance and can immediately start shopping. Scan and go technology takes care of the rest. 

Video cameras equipped with computer vision and machine learning detect the customer’s movements and keep track of purchases or the type and number of items chosen. Upon exit, the account is automatically charged to the card registered on the app, eliminating the passage to the cashier. Open every day from nine to midnight, the store admits a maximum of ten customers at a time and notifies customers via smartphone notification if it is possible to enter, avoiding unnecessary queues.

Carrefour relied on Epta to create a refrigeration system with a tailor-made solution. A customised version of one of its Costan-brand vertical plug-ins with R290 “natural” refrigerant was proposed. 

The solution’s added value is the integrated remote monitoring system. The total absence of personnel in the store has made it necessary to use state-of-the-art equipment that allows control and management of all parameters of the refrigerated compartments. 

Epta’s monitoring system allows remote checking of a cabinet’s configuration to verify its parameters in real time and receive and manage alarm signals and error situations. Compared to previous systems, a much higher amount of data can be transferred to the Epta telemonitoring centre for enhanced and increasingly efficient monitoring 24/7.

“Epta specialises in turnkey projects developed together with the customer from the earliest stages,” said Epta Middle East contracting and after sales director Andrea Cavalet. “In addition to the great logistical and project management capabilities, Epta was able to create a tailor-made solution perfectly suited to such a technologically advanced environment.”

“Customers are increasingly demanding and they are asking for a fast, pleasant and safe shopping experience,” commented Epta Middle East general manager Matteo Dipentina. “The innovation will support retailers in this paradigm shift: among the different technologies available, those that stand out are artificial intelligence and scan and go devices, to simplify in-store shopping and guarantee social distancing. Countries such as the United States, France and Sweden, but also China, Japan and South Korea are focusing on the so-called unmanned stores,” he added.

At the beginning of last year, Carrefour opened a 9m2 unmanned iCarrefour store in Taiwan.

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