At Cebit this week, IBM demonstrated a project it is conducting with food giant Safeway that will allow consumers to shop via a handheld PC.
The project, which is currently being tested in Safeway's Basingstoke superstore, is expected to be rolled out to further stores later this year.
The system, called Easi Order, allows customers to create and maintain personalised shopping lists and pre-order goods using a handheld PC. The device is based on 3Com's Palm Pilot, but has a built in scanner and runs software built using a combination of Java and Html.
Using a modem connection, customers can contact a Safeway store at any time and from anywhere. Using the service, customers can build their shopping lists from downloadable lists of available items. Orders are then sent down a telephone line using a modem to a server at hosted by Safeway.
Using the scanner on the device, customers can scan the barcode of products into a stored shopping list and then collect their shopping from the store at a determined time.
Customers can also electronically receive personalised information such as product promotions.
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