History in the making: The six biggest retail technology news stories … – Retail Technology Innovation Hub

1. Yoti digital age verification technology trialled at UK grocery retailers’ stores
The UK Home Office reports that trials of digital age verification at supermarket self-checkouts have now ended. 
Yoti, whose technology was tested out by the likes of Morrisons, Tesco, Co-op, and Asda, has shared its initial key takeaways from the initiative.
During the trials, shoppers in participating stores could try two new ways to prove their age.
Facial age estimation technology: those purchasing alcohol looked at a camera on the self-checkout and technology estimated their age.
It didn’t require any personal details or ID documents, and all images were instantly deleted once someone received their estimated age. If the system detected they looked younger than the set age threshold, customers were asked to use an alternative method. 
Digital ID app: shoppers could use the free Yoti or Post Office EasyID app to scan a QR code on the checkout screen and share a verified age attribute. 
Those who did not wish to use digital age verification had the option to ask a staff member to come and approve them and if required show their ID to a colleague instead. 
2. Zomato Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Gunjan Patidar quits FoodTech giant
Zomato Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Gunjan Patidar has handed in his resignation at the Indian food delivery firm.
He is the fourth Co-founder to depart the company. The move follows exits by Mohit Gupta, another Co-founder, and two other senior executives last month.
Patidar spent 10 years at Zomato.
In a stock exchange filing, it disclosed: “Patidar was one of the first few employees of Zomato and built the core tech systems for the company.”
“Over the last ten plus years, he also nurtured a stellar tech leadership team that is capable of taking on the mantle of leading the tech function going forward. His contribution to building Zomato has been invaluable.”
Loss making Zomato, which is backed by Ant Group, Temasek and Goldman Sachs, did not give a reason for any of the aforementioned departures.
In November, it announced that it would lay off nearly three per cent of its workforce as it pursued profitability.
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3. Aldi UK retail technology veteran Sireesh Nallanthighal starts new chapter
Sireesh Nallanthighal has left Aldi UK, where he spent the past 16 years in various roles, most recently serving as Digital Transformation Lead.
He is now Co-founder and CTO at TheCarCrowd, pitched as the UK’s first fractional investment platform for classic and prestige cars.
In a LinkedIn post, he said: “I have been blessed to have worked with, worked for, and led the most incredible of people. My colleagues have meant everything to me and made working joyful (most of the time!)”
He added: “I have grown up with this business, joining as a 23 year old straight out of university and have shared significant life moments with my Aldi family – getting engaged, buying my first house, getting married, buying my second house, buying my first car, becoming a father.”
“I have celebrated and I have been supported when mourning. My experiences here have shaped who I have become.”
“The career highlights have been plentiful, the mistakes I have made have helped me learn, with support from those around me.”
“I am indebted to this business and will forever hold it dear to my heart. I am also grateful to the suppliers/partners I have worked with over the years, we have delivered so much.”
“I am proud to be able to say I am Aldi, and humbled by the warmth of the business throughout my career and now as I head off to a new chapter. I leave with my head held high. Thank you.”
4. Online retail history in the making: First ever Amazon strike in UK set for 25th January
Amazon UK workers in a Coventry warehouse have agreed upon an initial strike date. 
The first ever Amazon strike in the UK is set to take place on 25th January, with further dates to be announced in the coming weeks. 
According to the GMB union, hundreds of workers at the fulfilment centre have voted to walk out over the US e-commerce giant’s 50 pence per hour pay offer. 
A ballot, which closed on 16th December, saw a majority of more than 98% of workers vote to strike. 
5. Chipotle teams with Snapchat and focuses on healthy habits for new augmented reality experience
Chipotle Mexican Grill is kicking off 2023 with a new lineup of Lifestyle Bowls as it looks to cater to contemporary wellness habits.
The brand is also launching a wellness inspired AR Lens on Snapchat to encourage people to maintain healthy habits, plus it will reward those who participate with free guac.
“We created seven new Lifestyle Bowls that embrace Gen Z and Millennials’ modern interpretation of wellbeing,” says Chris Brandt, Chief Marketing Officer, Chipotle.
“We’re making new year’s resolutions fun by gamifying the experience and offering balanced meals made with real ingredients that you feel good eating.”
The AR Lens will launch on Friday, 13th January, also known as Quitter’s Day, the day we’re apparently most likely to forfeit new year’s resolutions.
One hundred thousand people in the US who complete the Snapchat challenges will earn a promo code for a free small side or topping of guac.
Chipotle says that the activation marks the first time a restaurant brand will promote physical activity and wellness through an AR Lens on Snapchat.
6. Taking flight: Walmart lays claim to largest drone delivery footprint of any US retailer
Walmart reports that it now operates, in partnership with its vendors, 36 drone delivery hubs across seven US states.
This marks completion of the retailer’s drone hub expansion plans that it announced last year. 
Vik Gopalakrishnan, Vice President, Innovation & Automation, Walmart U.S., says: “I’m incredibly proud of our team for creating the largest drone delivery footprint of any US retailer and providing customers with an incredibly fast – and innovative – option for delivery.”
“We’re encouraged by the positive response from customers and look forward to making even more progress in 2023.” 
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