Tesco enters the iPhone app market with an impressive offering that makes innovative use of the materials already on hand with both company and customer.
The app seamlessly integrates existing Tesco hallmarks (such as loyalty card data) but its most interesting element is the use of image recognition software to enable customers to update their shopping list on the fly. The app utilises the iPhone's camera feature to take a snapshot of a product's barcode and automatically syncs that item to the customers Tesco Online shopping list.
There's no need to make a shopping list anymore. Imagine that you've used up the last of your tea bags. Just scan the barcode and add the product to your online basket.
The most informative aspect of this app is how it approaches the internet of things. Perhaps the most interesting element of these two features taken together is the contrast between them and the other herald of the internet of things. RFID is often trumpeted as one of the major vanguards of ubiquitous computing (and has been enthusiastically embraced by Walmart, a company of similar relative proportions to Tesco). However, the image recognition championed by Tesco is another means towards hyperlinking reality into the digital realm. Relative to RFID, the latter option requires much less in terms of early adopters now that smartphones are so diffuse among the consumer populace.