Azure and Softbank Robotics to turn Surface Hub into the ultimate retail presentation tool

Laurent Giret

Since Microsoft started shipping its Surface Hub interactive whiteboards in March, the company has been sharing several use cases as example for business users on how they can leverage the innovative devices’ capabilities to improve collaboration and productivity. In the real world, the Surface Hub is already being used by reporters from a local TV channel and also by students in a Liverpool college, but the giant all-in-one-PCs could also soon find a new use case in retail.

According to a report from Computerworld, Microsoft and SoftBank Robotics are currently using Surface Hub panels connected to Azure to improve customers shopping experience in store. Not only would customers be able to use a Surface Hub to browse products visually, but the giant interactive touch-screen will also generate shopping recommendations from store-based data, e-commerce sites, smartphones and more.

Both companies are also developing a cloud-enabled robot that leverages Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite to be able to serve customers in person and offer them tailored suggestions from previous purchasing behavior. SoftBank began testing the combo in March in Japan and the solution is expected to be available to Japanese retailers in the fall. Do you think the Surface Hub and Azure could help reinventing the shopping experience? Tell us what you think in the comments below.