Verizon Business on Tuesday signed a deal with Mastercard Inc to use 5G and wireless technology for contactless payments and provide an autonomous checkout service for retail stores.
Telecoms operators such as Verizon are seeking to expand into new businesses ranging from robotics to fintech companies that they think will benefit from the growing adoption of 5G technology.
The Verizon Business tie-up with Mastercard aims to utilize 5G smartphones and near-field communication (NFC) technology for merchants to accept customer payments without the need for point-of-sale (POS) terminals.
The companies are also planning to use computer vision technology and cloud computing to provide automatic checkout at unattended retail stores, similar to what Amazon did with Go stores.
The Go concept has not been widely adopted, with only 29 stores so far, which Verizon Business revenue chief Sowmyanarayan Sampath attributes to the high costs involved in deploying the necessary technology.
Verizon Business, however, aims to achieve a significant reduction in such costs, Sampath says, with the company also working with retail technology specialist AiFi to use computer vision and artificial intelligence to create autonomous shopping experiences.
“Between MasterCard, AiFi, and us, we have everything we need,” Sampath said without disclosing any financial details.
He did not indicate when the technology will be available to merchants but said that “most of the action will be in North America”.
(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee, European Technology & Telecoms Correspondent, based in Stockholm; Editing by David Goodman)