Trade show focuses on retail-store AI technology to address worker shortage

A trade show featuring the latest technologies for retail stores is underway in Tokyo. A main attraction is artificial intelligence systems aimed at addressing a shortage of workers.

More than 200 firms from Japan and overseas are taking part in Retailtech Japan.

One AI system uses cameras installed on shelves to check stocks of merchandise. The system issues restock alerts before products are sold out. This makes it unnecessary for clerks to take inventories.

"A camera is monitoring the situation, and the system tells you when to restock the shelves," said Tahara Yuji, NEC's product manager of smart retail department. "This will result in a very efficient operation."

Another firm is showing an automatic cashier system with security functions. It uses cameras to check and recheck the number of items and flags any irregularities.

The trade show runs through Friday.