Lenovo has started a suitable automatic store in China, employing it as a testbed for testing e-payment, facial-recognition, Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, with its tablets mimicking store’s staffers.

The automatic store, Lenovo Lecoo, is situated in the campus of a tech company in Beijing. Daryl Cromer, VP of Research and Technology, claimed that Lenovo can acquire “everything” from the test.

“Shopping at the store is quite simple. You walk up to the door, cameras recognize your face, you browse the aisles, pick out what you want as usual, then — and here’s the magic — you just walk out, and your account is automatically settled via your mobile payment,” Lenovo explained.

“We can now understand some of the technologies and challenges our customers face, allowing us to make better devices and tailored solutions. The store becomes a powerful pilot program for technologies that move beyond the Lenovo campus.”

Lenovo claimed that tablets installed at the entrance of the store for matching consumers with their profiles, helps it in learning “how to implement and optimize facial recognition for all of Lenovo’s devices and looked into specialized tablets with a camera better suited for facial recognition”.

“When people think of a retail experience they think of a PC, keyboard, a barcode reader, and a cash drawer,” Cromer said.

“Going forward. This will be defined by mobile payment, by empowering the user to their own selection, fast payout, etc. That would imply our tablets, PCs, and phones would evolve to better fit this ecosystem, and over time the options for each will become more optimized to fit these scenarios.”

As a next step, Lenovo is thinking to start online-to-offline delivery service to the store, in addition to data- and an AI-driven coffee machine that can recall every consumer’s order.

About a year ago, the company highlighted how important AI is for the enterprise, as it introduced the latest software and hardware for machine-learning systems.

“Artificial intelligence is already having a profound impact on traditional business strategies and scientific research, and most senior leaders consider it a priority for the year ahead,” Kirk Skaugen, President of Lenovo Data Center Group, claimed at the time.

Nevertheless, Lenovo invested $1.2 billion in AI research and development and started three AI advanced departments in Stuttgart, Germany; Beijing, China; and Morrisville, North Carolina.

Last month, Gartner and ID gave Lenovo the first place in PC shipments worldwide, registering its shipping of around 16,000 notebooks, desktops, and workstations in Q3 of 2018.

IDC reported that in a three-month period, Lenovo has shipped 16,152 total devices, and Gartner said that it has shipped around 15,889.

In June, Lenovo also introduced, for the meeting rooms, a number of smart office products, with the goal of utilizing a group of software and hardware to sense participants, connect and pair devices, and integrate with partnered frameworks such as Zoom, Skype for Business, and BlueJeans.