Digital Trends for Tomorrow´s Retail
Last week Netural´s Markus Pargfrieder visited the Retail Executive Conference (REC) in Madrid, being one of 350 personally invited Intel partners. The head manager of the Netural Multimedia Lab inspired the crowd with Netural´s iMirror campaign and attended exciting keynotes.
Netural´s partnerships with tech giants like Samsung or Intel and its membership in the „Retail of Tomorrow“ syndicate give us a chance to review new technologies before they even hit the market. This earns our multimedia lab a headstart in the development of cutting-edge solutions for customers in retail and other fields. Permanent exchange with Intel provides both sides with helpful inputs about the near and not-so-near future in an ever more networked world.
Consumers are ready for digital. This was the key message of Christian Morales, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Anand Srivastsa, director of CPU & Platform Line Management. Trends in the near future are:
- Africa will be the strongest growth market for technology. No other continent shows similar speed in the development of a social stratum with demand for internet access and related devices.
- Phablets, the hybrids of smartphones and tablets, beat all competing devices when it comes to covering user behavior trends. Close runner-ups are 2-in-1 tablet-laptop hybrids.
- Battery life in mobile devices will grow ever more important. Nothing will beat devices which save business travelers the frantic search for the nearest available electrical plug.
- E-sports have not yet arrived in Europe, but they are already huge in Asia where the live matches of gaming superstars fill arenas.
- Virtual reality is a focus of Intel and other tech giants, being a highly attractive and exciting technology with the potential to revolutionize the shopping experience and change retail forever.
Intel´s cooperation with technology leaders Oculus and HTC Vive is driving this development, with Intel focusing mostly on performance.
Enhanced performance will help to take the challenges out of content generation in VR projects, which is great news for the Netural Lab and its customers. In earlier projects, huge amounts of time and energy went into safeguarding performance. Simpler and more accessible VR solutions are something to really look forward to.
Shopping – an experience
Nine out of ten shoppers already use multiple devices to bring their shopping experience to perfection, reports Jeff McCrea, Intel´s vice president of Global Marketing and Communication. The demand for information, even in-shop, has grown so huge and individual that retailers are urged to provide information, be it on customers´ mobile devices or on big screens in the shops. Proven technologies like NFC, beacons or augmented reality and newcomers like VR or wearables offer solutions, with the caveat that when it comes to creating the perfect shopping experience, smart services will always beat boring information playbacks.
Know your customers
The „internet of things“ is one of the driving forces behind the current development, and Capgemini´s Peter Lindell and Matt Ward offered valuable insights in this respect. With the prices for sensor technology, bandwidth and processing half of what they were ten years ago, we face enormous possibilities.
Gathering data and knowing your customers is essential. „Big data“ is not really new, and most every company engages in pooling data, but not everybody really analyses and uses them systematically to create real value. Real-time pos data gathering could prove very helpful here, e.g. by showing items on a heatmap to streamline the search for products in storerooms.
Millenials provide enormous data pools: They spend up to ten hours every day online and are multiply connected, using ever growing numbers of electronic gadgets. The „internet of things“ future is at hand, and washing machines independently ordering the owners´ favorite detergents for home delivery are not science fiction any more. It is therefore high time for retailers to review their options and chances.
The REC 2016 exhibition area proved every bit as exciting as the keynotes. Latest tablets, fat power-notebooks and boosted-up gaming setups were on display.
Intel had invited Netural to show the interactive iMirror. Based on Intel RealSense-technology, this application combines camera, touchscreen and hand-tracking control to offer a world of new interactive display possibilities and a completely novel, product-centered shopping experience – a smart, innovative augmented reality application which impressed the expert crowd at the REC as deeply as it impressed shoppers.