BANGKOK: Convenience store 7-Eleven is rolling out artificial intelligence technology, including facial recognition, across all its 11,000 stores in Thailand in a move described as “unique in scope” because of how frequently consumers shop there.

Its parent company, Charoen Pokphand (CP), has signed a deal with US-based Remark Holdings to deploy Remark’s KanKan AI technology, which is expected to provide 7-Eleven with enhanced customer support and data analysis.

KanKan’s capabilities include gathering data on in-store traffic, such as how long a customer lingers at a specific shelf, monitors stock levels and staff activity, and even takes note of the emotions of shoppers as they walk around a store.

“Artificial intelligence has the power to completely transform business in every industry,” said Kai-Shing Tao, Remark’s CEO, in comments to the Financial Times.

“CP Group recognised this right away and is making it a very high priority to adopt and implement AI technologies,” he added.

According to the Financial Times, the deployment will underscore Asia’s status as a laboratory for AI technologies and it follows a face-recognition trial that Yum China, the owner of the KFC brand in China, launched in a restaurant last year.

CP Group chairman Soopakij Chearavanont said in a briefing to the media that KanKan’s AI technology would help 7-Eleven to cut costs, drive revenues and increase margins.

And he added that the company planned to extend KanKan to Ping An Insurance of China, in which CP Group has the largest shareholding.

7-Eleven in Thailand offers a wide range of services beyond just groceries, ranging from bill payments to dry cleaning, and it is estimated that 10 million Thai consumers visit a 7-Eleven each day.

Considering these numbers, Business Insider described the brand’s move into AI as “unique in scope” that could amount to the single biggest adoption of facial recognition cameras by one company, with implications for the wider region.

Sourced from Financial Times, Business Insider; additional reporting by WARC staff