For years, online retailers have had a number of huge advantages over their physical competitors. Lower overheads have allowed websites to offer cheaper prices and deliver products directly to the door of customers. Digital-first businesses have also been able to track customer activity across their websites and develop a relationship to encourage repeat business. In the physical world, collecting and analysing customer data has been problematic but that's all changing with the emergence of innovative IoT technologies.
At the NRF's annual Retail's BIG Show* in New York City, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich showcased various tools and platforms that will help increase in-store efficiencies and drive new experiences that customers now expect.
Meet Tally* — The world's first automated shelving robot
"Tally is capable of visualising the world around it to navigate safely around staff and customers during opening hours"
Revolutionising Retail with the Intel Responsive Retail Platform
During his keynote, Krzanich also launched the Intel® Responsive Retail Platform (Intel® RRP), a flexible and scalable horizontal platform that enables innovative solutions to be created using standardised retail hardware, software, APIs and sensors.
The retail platform collects multiple data streams to connect digital and physical environments, according to Krzanich: "With the goals of lowering costs and increasing sales, the platform helps optimally place inventory, deploy employees and other resources, and track inventory – through the supply chain to the store door. It provides in-the-moment information about what customers are buying, what they want and how to manage inventory so it arrives just in time for customers to take it home.”
The Intel RRP consists of three components:
Intel Responsive Retail Sensor: The multi-sensor is designed for use in highly dense retail environments. Using its integrated RFID reader and antenna, the sensor enables cost-effective data collection from numerous sources in a retail store. Future versions are expected to incorporate video, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) capabilities, which will all be powered by an Intel® Atom™ processor.
Intel-Based Gateway: The gateway connects to, configures, controls and interacts with the Intel Responsive Retail Sensors over Ethernet without third party middleware. Provided by HP* and based on Intel® Core™ i7 or Intel® Xeon® processors, the gateway connects to the cloud via the internet using a wired network, wireless or 3G/LTE cellular network.
By increasing the processing capacity at the gateway, more data can be collated, compressed and filtered from multiple sensors and real-time analytics can also be performed at the edge.
The Cloud: The Intel RRP offers an open-source analytics platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for cloud applications. This cloud-based, horizontal platform features an integrated stack which helps to reduce complexity and gives greater control to businesses. The solution runs on public cloud infrastructures (AWS*, Azure*) and can be extended and customised by solution providers.
More innovations are on the way as Intel has committed to investing over $100 million in the retail sector during the next five years: "The investment will enable retailers to unify every part of their operations, create a positive impact on their bottom line, and solve longstanding business challenges," Krzanich added.
*Trademarks are the property of their owners
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