UH Opens Touchless, Checkout-Free Retail Store

‘Market Next’ at the Technology Bridge retrofitted with AI-powered platform to transform the retail experience, ensure utmost student safety

tech bridge cashless market
Lynn Al-Emam, a student at UH, tries out the new checkout-free Market Next at the Technology Bridge.

Convenience just took on a whole new meaning for students at the University of Houston. The University and its dining services partner Chartwells Higher Education have partnered with Standard, which provides the only checkout-free solution that can be quickly and easily installed in existing stores, have transformed an on-campus convenience store into the nation’s first retrofitted, completely touchless, cashierless retail experience.

“Market Next” at Technology Bridge opened on the University of Houston campus Thursday, Oct. 8. Operating 24 hours a day, the one-of-a-kind store sells an assortment of snacks, coffee, beverages, microwavable items, sandwiches and more; and with this revolutionary new system, students can walk in, take what they like, and simply walk out – without ever having to scan anything or wait in line to pay. The fastest full shopping trip recorded with the Standard platform is 2.3 seconds, which can only happen because of its camera-based system, and is especially useful for students who are running late for class.

“Students’ tastes change constantly, and we’re well equipped to handle that. But their shopping preferences evolve too, and we want to continue providing new and unique shopping experiences that are unexpected on a college campus,” said David Riddle, district manager for UH System Dining and vice president of operations for Chartwells Higher Ed. “This is the future of shopping, and with autonomous checkout through Standard, we’ve made it as easy, safe and convenient as possible for students to come in, get what they need, and go.”

Chartwells is actively working with Standard to retrofit a series of stores across North America; a convenience store equipped with Standard’s checkout-free technology has opened in North Carolina, and another will soon open in Ontario.

Standard provides the only checkout-free solution that can be quickly and easily installed in existing stores without making any changes to shelving, lighting, layout, inventory management processes and more. Market Next was retrofitted with Standard’s ceiling-mounted cameras and its proprietary AI and machine-vision software that accurately associates each shopper with the items they pick up to purchase – without using biometric data.

“Market Next is the first retail store in the world to be retrofitted for a 100% cashierless, checkout-free experience,” said Jordan Fisher, co-founder and CEO of Standard. "Our platform is the only system on the market proven to retrofit an entire retail experience. Innovative retailers like Chartwells use the AI-powered Standard platform to enable shoppers to grab any product they want and simply walk out, without waiting in line. We are excited to partner with Chartwells and others in the Compass family to deliver this groundbreaking technology to more stores across the world."

Standard’s technology and the fact that it could work with existing store layouts made it a fit. At Market Next, Standard’s platform integrates with Chartwells’ existing mobile ordering app, Boost, for seamless payment.

“Checkout-free technology is an innovation that will make our students’ lives a little easier and a lot safer. This is the new standard for campus safety that is important to students today and for the foreseeable future,” said Emily Messa, associate vice chancellor and associate vice president for administration at the University of Houston. “That’s why we will plan to convert additional Market stores on campus to this technology in the coming year.”