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This Tea Shop Now Tracks Your Face, Makes it Password for Subsequents Even business of serving and enjoying tea is now technology-driven in India

By Rahul R

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Ancient Japanese mannerism made tea drinking an art, very subtle and full of beauty. Tea drinking brought a spiritual experience for the monks practicing zen but in today's world things have become high-tech and so has tea.

Just imagine walking into a store to sip tea and when you check out, your face is recognized as a loyal customer enabling to resort to easier and hassle-free checkouts during your subsequent visits. The technology here is Artificial Intelligence (AI) that stores your preferences, along with your face, to offer an automated experience.

Now, Chai Point, which grabbed eyeballs due to its recent USD 20 Million Series C fundraising, has incorporated AI facial recognition as part of its loyalty program when its recent 100th store was launched in Bangalore.

Here, you can opt-in to be a loyal customer by consenting to a face scan carried out during billing; this stores all your essential preferences and lists you as a loyal customer under the startup's Prioritea loyalty program. Your subsequent billing process and ordering becomes relatively hassle-free at Chai Point.

Through facial recognition, you are saved from the hassles of conventional processes such as sharing of personal details each time you place order. Hence, once you are identified as loyal under the Prioritea program, your face would be the password for all future transactions.

Chai Point states that your facial data would be safe when it is stored within a customized cloud. The image captured would be encrypted and not visible to the person at the sales counter

Here, the notable factor is technology-led disruption; models around which seek to make lives of people easier. This is preferred by today's equity investors as well who have apparently turned "smart" in a bid to drive next-gen change to positively impact society.

"The new initiative has been launched on the basis of customer feedback who have been telling us that they don't feel comfortable sharing their mobile numbers everytime they visit our store. The idea behind face recognition is to make the entire experience less friction and more personalised," states Amuleek Singh Bijral - Co- Founder and CEO at Chai Point.

Technology in small package – for smaller sectors

In a scenario wherein serving tea would potentially become hassle-free, the impact which technology like the Internet-of-Things (IoT), Machine Learning (ML), AI, BlockChain, Deep Learning, and more could create is amazing. This is an indicator of the impact that even relatively under-rated sectors such as serving beverages (even food) are becoming smart. This is substantiated when we consider that investors of Chai Point willingly pumped-in investments amounting to as much as USD 20 Million.

Also, Chai Point's latest AI-driven offering potentially serves as illustration about launching technology-driven models in small packages, to cater to the minutest of domains. Newbie entrepreneurs could keep their eyes and ears open.

With investors today having turned smarter and continually seeking to mentor startups smartly, it becomes a mandate that you (being a new business owner) drive next-gen change through technology.

Finally, the latest Chai Point development also indicates that the sector which you are catering to, through your startup would not be important for investors. You could cater to mundane sectors and still manage to strike all the right "smart" chords with investors as well as customers.

Rahul R

Former Staff

Rahul R is a media professional with over 6 years of experience. Prior to Entrepreneur India, Rahul was a Senior Technical Journalist at EFY digital magazine. 

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