The Sultan Center Hiku Shopping Device

Post by Mark

Over the holidays Sultan Center sent me a Hiku device to play around with and try out. The Hiku is a small device that lives in your kitchen and can scan barcodes, recognize your voice and is basically used to create a shopping list. I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets, even my egg tray connects to the internet so I wasn’t going to say no to adding another gadget in my kitchen. Plus, I enjoy scanning barcodes for some reason, I even owned a CueCat back in 2001 which strangely is considered one of the worst inventions ever. Anyway, enough throwbacks for now.

The Hiku is a pretty tiny device that connects to the internet and the Sultan Center phone app. The way you use it is pretty simple. Say you’re running out of popcorn, instead of opening your notes app or whatever app you use to remind you about what you need from the supermarket, you just take the Hiku device and scan the barcode on the popcorn box. The Hiku automatically recognizes what you just scanned, beeps once letting you know all is ok and then adds that item to your Sultan Center shopping list. If the Hiku doesn’t recognize the item, it will beep three times. Some items like bananas for example don’t have barcodes, so instead of scanning a barcode, you press the button on the Hiku and just say bananas. The Hiku device will recognize your voice and add bananas to your shopping list.

Once you’ve got everything on your list, you can then add the stuff to your shopping cart and purchase them using the Sultan Center app or, you can just open the list the next time you’re shopping and use it as a reminder.

So what do I think of the Hiku? Currently I use the Clear app on my iPhone for my grocery list reminders. It launches instantly and its very easy to add an item to a list and swipe it off once I get it. I don’t think I’ll be changing my habits and start using the Hiku especially since I don’t buy my groceries online. The Hiku makes more sense for people who do order grocerries to their home, by having all the items added to your Sultan Center account, it makes it super practical to just checkout and have the items delivered.

But, the biggest issue I faced is that not all the items I scanned got added to my list even though the Hiku recognized the items. For example the popcorn I used as an example in this post, when I scanned the box the Hiku didn’t add it to my shopping list even though it beeped once to let me know it recognized it. I scanned a different flavored popcorn box and it also didn’t get added to my list. I figured maybe the items were out of stock so I manually checked for the popcorn on their website and one of them wasn’t available, but the other was. Even if both items were out of stock I think they should still get added to my shopping list so that when they’re back in stock I could purchase them. Popcorn wasn’t the only thing it didn’t add to my list, I scanned a bunch of items in one of my kitchen drawers, and in the end it just added two of them to my list even though again the Hiku recognized all the other items. Super annoying.

Another issue I have is with the price of the Hiku. Although the device costs KD12 on Amazon, Sultan Center are selling it for KD25. I don’t know why they’d sell it for double the price, if anything they should be selling it at cost price so that they could get more people to buy it, which in return will lead to more people using their app and website.

With all that being said, the Hiku is a fun little gadget. If you want to find out more about the Hiku, visit the product page on the Sultan Center website [Here]

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17 comments, add your own...

  1. Sam says:

    So it’s locked for use to the TSC’s app? I can’t use it with another app?

    Also, the Hiku logo (in the Amazon link) is a rip-off of Hulu’s logo.

    • Mark says:

      It’s not locked in to TSC’s app, but it works with the TSC app. So you should be able to buy the Hiku from Amazon and use it with the TSC app (theoretically)

  2. Jack says:

    Hey, Mark just a correction for the price: Amazon is selling it for 44 $ + shipping to Kuwait 26.65 $ which is almost 21.7 KD, so they are not selling it for double price.

    • Mark says:

      That’s not how it works though. Amazon are selling it for KD12 which means the cost of the item is actually less than 12. Sultan Center are not buying the devices from Amazon and shipping them to Kuwait (or at least I hope not). They’re most likely buying them in wholesale at bulk prices.

      Secondly if you were to order the Hiku from Amazon it would cost you KD12 plus around KD3 to ship it to Kuwait using postaplus. So KD15 for the total give or take and not 22kd.

  3. Eugene says:

    And so ends the life and times of Hiku!

  4. mu says:

    Does it come with a rat?

  5. Kuwait says:

    I would rather just HIKKKUP

  6. Salah says:

    This is good. This is really good. I don’t remember when was the last time any big Kuwaiti retail store tried something so different and unique even though no one asked for, just to try it out.

    If Sultan Center is reading these comments then please:

    1- Don’t drop the idea, just improve its functionality and its price.

    2- You’re doing good for the online shopping, but we need you to try harder (more items and variety).

    3- Work on the prices a little bit. It’s understandable to mark some uncommon items for with a higher price than co-ops, but other ubiquitous commodities? Come on.

    I am so ready to put my money on innovative supermarkets, as long as they show serious effort in improving customer’s shopping convenience. With the hot weather and traffic and lack of parking spaces, Kuwait should be a world center for the innovative grocery shopping experience.

    Question: Why didn’t you just develop the app to do everything the Hiku is supposed to do?

    • Mark says:

      Hiku isn’t an app, its a hardware. for them to develop the hardware would be a complete waste of their resources and be too costly when there is already a device that does this.

  7. nora says:

    Does it scan local or regional brands like KDD, Almarai, Nadec ..etc?

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