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Middle East's first AI, IoT-powered smart Ahlain store upgrades retail IoT

Omantel, the Sultanate’s first and leading integrated telecommunications services provider, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Oman Oil Marketing Company (OOMCO) to enable the first artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) powered Smart Store in Oman and in the Middle East.

This partnership will bring to life an enhanced queue-free, cashless, and grab-and-go shopping experience. In detail, Omantel will supply the necessary smart technologies needed while OOMCO will bring a new mix of products compatible with the store’s technologies.

Commenting on the partnership, Talal Said Al Mamari, CEO Omantel said: “The company is optimally harnessing the potential of emerging technologies like AI and IoT and is an enabler and an important catalyst in the metamorphosis of important economic sectors into thriving, digitally interconnected ecosystems fueling overall economic growth. This MoU with OOMCO for the Smart Ahlain Store is one more step towards meeting Oman’s long-term digital transformation goals. We are proud to be the first service provider to introduce this concept and invest in such technology in Oman and the Middle East as we continue our journey of innovations.”

The retail and convenience store industry is set to revolutionize toward an enhanced, intelligent, and cost-effective future in this first-ever smart Ahlain store. Anticipated to become operational in the second half of this year, this store upgrades retail IoT by combining AI, smart shelf sensors, cameras, and a mobile wallet app.

Hussain Jama Bait Ishaq, OOMCO’s Acting CEO, said: “Our goal is to add value to all our customers’ lives and enrich their shopping experiences across all our services. Being the first smart store of its kind in the Middle East, the Smart Ahlain store provides a unique shopping experience where customers can pick up items off the shelves to be added to their virtual carts. Once they’re done, they can pay as they leave from their mobile devices and receive the payment receipt shortly after leaving.”

Located at the Omantel headquarters in Madinat Al Irfan, the in-store cameras will capture shoppers’ movements in the aisles, while the smart shelf sensors will track products a shopper will put in their baskets. Through an app being developed by Omantel, items chosen by shoppers will keep getting added to their virtual cart. Alongside this, customers’ mobile wallets will be debited for the items they purchased and as they walk out of the store, they will also receive an electronically-generated receipt.