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WORCESTER, Mass. and SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Fulfilling a commitment to make Polar Park a technological, innovative ballpark, the Worcester Red Sox today announced an agreement with tech startup Standard Cognition to open the world’s first autonomous checkout store in a pro sports and entertainment venue. The store, to be located near centerfield in Polar Park, will be stocked with snacks, drinks, and souvenirs, and will leverage Standard’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Vision technology to allow customers to shop and pay without any scanning, waiting in line, or stopping to check out. Fans can simply walk in, take what they like, and walk out to enjoy the game. The store will be accessible and open to the public and to Left Field office building, daily, whether or not there is a game at the ballpark.
The innovative ballpark, scheduled to open in April 2021, is located in the resurgent Canal District of Worcester, Massachusetts, the second-largest city in New England.
“We are pleased to be the first to introduce this innovative technology at a ballpark,” said Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Larry Lucchino, now Principal Owner & Chairman of the Worcester Red Sox. Before working with Boston Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry and Chairman Tom Werner to spearhead the renovation of Fenway Park, Lucchino was the visionary and driving force behind Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore and Petco Park in San Diego. He also spearheaded the creation of JetBlue Park in Lee County, Florida, while serving as President/CEO of the Red Sox.
“We have long sought to reduce time spent waiting in lines in our venues,” said Lucchino, “and Standard Cognition’s autonomous checkout technology will do just that. We look forward to this enhancement at Polar Park and expanding it to other ballparks and stadiums around the country.”
Standard Cognition was one of the first startups in the autonomous checkout space, and first to open a cashierless store in San Francisco. Recognized by Fast Company magazine as “One of The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies,” Standard is currently working with retailers across the US and the world. The company has raised $86M in funding from high-profile investors including CRV, Initialized Capital, EQT Ventures and Y Combinator.
“Standard is committed to helping retailers provide the best and most seamless checkout experience for their customers,” said Michael Suswal, co-founder and COO of Standard Cognition. “Working with Larry Lucchino and his team, we have enjoyed creating an innovative, safe, convenient way to enhance the fan experience. We are honored to contribute to the sights, sounds, and smells of the wonderful city of Worcester.”
Standard leverages ceiling-mounted cameras and proprietary AI and machine vision software to accurately associate each shopper with the items they pick up – without using facial recognition or any other biometrics. Fans have the option to pay via the Standard or Polar Park apps, or visit a kiosk in the store to pay with cash or a credit/debit card. (Those who prefer the traditional method of a person-to-person transaction may of course still do so.)
In addition, shoppers who choose to pay at the kiosk do not have to scan anything – the kiosk automatically recognizes their purchases when they approach. The system requires no turnstiles, sensored shelves, or special store layout, creating a seamless experience for customers and making it easy to retrofit into existing stores.
Access a rendering of the store at www.polarpark.com/leftfieldmarket. To see a video of Standard’s technology in action, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgogpqVzEoc&feature=youtu.be.
On August 17, 2018, the Boston Red Sox’ Triple-A affiliate announced an agreement with the City of Worcester and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to build a park with year-round uses. On September 17, 2018, thousands of fans in Central Massachusetts gathered for a “Grand and Glorious Civic Celebration” on the Worcester Common, filled with Red Sox stars including Worcester native Rich Gedman; Red Sox Hall of Famers Dwight Evans, Luis Tiant, and Jerry Remy; and Baseball Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez. The club broke ground ceremonially July 11, 2019, marked the location of home plate and the bases August 5, 2019, with Gedman and Red Sox legend Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, and began demolition of vacant buildings Wednesday, August 28, 2019.
The Worcester Red Sox and Standard will host a press conference today at 2 p.m. at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), the club’s academic technology advisor. The event will take place at The Innovation and Entrepreneur Center (Room 241), in the Foisie Innovation Studio. For directions, visit https://www.wpi.edu/coming-to-campus.
“WPI is dedicated to creating the workforce of the future, which will include cutting edge fields like AI, machine learning, and data and computer science,” said Winston Soboyejo, WPI interim provost. “But we know we must also focus on the human experience and human interaction in those fields. As the Academic Technology Advisor for the Worcester Red Sox, we are delighted to host the team and Standard Cognition on campus as they announce an exciting new partnership that blends both technology and the human experience.”
“From Loring Coes invention of the monkey wrench, to Esther Howland’s development of Valentine’s Day greeting cards, to Robert Goddard’s experiments paving the way for modern space travel, Worcester has an impressive history of embracing innovative thinking,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. “We’re excited to have the world’s first autonomous checkout store in a pro sports and entertainment venue be right here in our city. We thank the Worcester Red Sox, Standard Cognition, and WPI for making Polar Park a ballpark that will integrate the needs of today’s fans with the latest technology.”
About Standard Cognition
Standard Cognition provides the most flexible AI-powered autonomous checkout solutions for brick & mortar retailers. Available to any retailer, the Standard solution lets consumers shop and pay without waiting in line, scanning or stopping to check out. It helps retailers reduce labor costs, improve the customer experience, and improve profit margins by up to 100 percent. Standard also helps retailers of all sizes compete with larger chains and online offerings such as Amazon. Learn more at https://www.standard.ai/ or follow @standardAI.
Joe Bradlee for the Worcester Red Sox
Michelle Faulkner for Standard Cognition