State Trading Organisation (STO) has opened a cutting-edge AI-powered smart store in Hulhumale. The store, which is the first of its kind in the Maldives, was officially opened by Vice President Faisal Naseem.

At the opening ceremony held on Thursday, the vice president applauded the venture, describing it as a promising start for STO in a country like the Maldives, where a vast majority of people are familiar with modern technologies.

With a fusion of cutting-edge technology and user-friendly features, the state-owned company aims to deliver a seamless shopping experience to its customers, setting new standards of convenience and efficiency.

Explaining the store’s technological infrastructure, the company’s Chief Information Officer Ismail Mifrah said the advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, IoT sensors, and data science, would enable the system to recognise the colour, shape, and weight of the items being sold. He explained that IoT sensors on each shelf would detect the number of items customers take, while cameras would monitor customer behaviour, providing valuable insights for future enhancements. The technology allows easy price updates and identification of popular and less-favoured items among customers, according to Mifrah.

Managing Director Abdullah Saeed said the technology utilised in the smart store is entirely novel for the Maldives, with only a few similar establishments in the region. He further stated that this innovative technology would bring substantial benefits to the company and its customers, and make services far more accessible in the future.

The smart store access process is simple. Customers are required to download the STO Smart Shop application and complete the registration, which includes providing their cash card information. To enter the store, customers can choose between scanning the QR code on the application’s home screen or utilising the face recognition feature. Up to eight customers can enter the store simultaneously; however, individual scanning is required for each entry. As customers pick items from the store shelves, those items are automatically added to their virtual cart in the application.