Global semiconductor giant, Intel, has launched the Intel Responsive Retail Platform (IRRP) to improve the personalized in-store shopping experience.
Speaking at NRF 2017, Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich, announced the platform.
He said that it will combine retail hardware, software, APIs and sensors in a standardized way to collect multiple data streams. These streams will enable retailers to connect “digital and physical environments.” Internet of Business believes this means connecting the physical store and objects in it to the Internet, although further details are unknown at this time (we will update this story when we hear back from Intel – Ed).
The platform should give retailers greater insight into their operations and enable them to offer a more personalized experience for shoppers.
Transforming bricks and mortar
With the goal of lowering costs and improving sales, Krzanich says the IRRP “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.”
According to tech site ZDNet, the IRRP contains ‘Intel’s low-power integrated sensor with RFID capability and an expandable sensor suite that allows for the eventual inclusion of other sensors from third-party sensor vendors. The sensors can be used to track inventory and generate in-store data that highlights store activity and customer preferences.’
It also includes ‘an open source analytics platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for cloud applications from independent software vendors (ISVs).’
Installing this technology means Intel can can see what items are not in their correct location and the up-to-the-minute store inventory, including what’s in the back room. They can even tell what items go in to changing rooms, but never make it to the cash register.
Intel betting big on IoT
Intel believes it is this data-centric approach to IoT that will transform retail in the coming years.
As well as the IRRP, the company also announced that it will invest more than $100 million over the next five years in the retail industry. The investment will apparently go toward ‘enabling retailers to unify every part of the retail operation’.
A battle for the future of retail
Implementing IoT to give shoppers a more engaging and personalized experience in store is not new, however.
In fact, Samsung released a slew of products that incorporate IoT, data analytics and mobile technologies that sync with back office systems to help customers within shops at NRF this week, while Amazon has gone one step further with its well-documented Amazon Go store.
So how can Intel differentiate?
According to Rob Bamforth, principal analyst at Quocirca, “the challenge is often more about making it ‘real’ for the non-technical business community that will buy into it – the retail sector is notorious for being slow to invest in high tech if the gains and value aren’t really clear.
“Overall his type of technology can be good and effective, but difficult to make successful without the high consumer experience angle (which Amazon has picked up and developed from scratch over many years),” he told IoB.
“Often it’s a matter of finding the right partners, some will be other technology companies and integrators, but the real positive impact will come from those who really understand retail – sometimes it’s more important to bring in this type of insight, rather than more technology partners, to help get the message across about the tech will benefit the business.”
Ultimately, as Asos chairman Brian McBride has pointed out, retailers with bricks and mortar stores should be looking to take advantage of the IoT opportunity, an opportunity that could be worth up to $187 billion if Cisco’s latest study is to be believed.