I’d like to think of my role in the retail industry as an advocate and messenger, supporting the transformation and advancement of the industry by sharing strategic insights. My ability to do this is staying on top of emerging trends and developments – particularly technology initiatives that are moving at warp speed. On that note, Intel recently launched a big one. I’ll get to it, but first, some context.
Everything, every service and everybody in the world is being connected, more quickly, precisely and efficiently. It’s made possible by technology systems that can talk to each other. This ecosystem is rich with transparent information and open access for everyone, including all of commerce. And even as the concern about personal security grows, spiked by intentional misuse of third-party data aggregators and unchecked sale of personal information to marketers, the mountains of data being mined, interpreted and implemented is a good thing.
Yes, companies like Facebook may become more regulated, but will continue to aggregate more and more information about individuals around the globe. And I’m only using Facebook as one example of every digital touchpoint that we make during every minute of every day with cameras and sensors following and interacting with us wherever we might be. We cannot hide. And as technology continues to communicate, connect and interact with more and more individuals and enhance their activities, data mining will expand exponentially.
According to Berkeley’s School of Information, between 1999 and 2002, the amount of information communicated was equivalent to 37,000 Libraries of Congress (each of which holds 22 million books). And between 2002 and 2013, it was estimated to have grown tenfold.
So, rather than succumb to a dystopian view, this brave new tech world should be embraced as a positive opportunity to expand the scope of our lives. It offers greater knowledge, a more expansive network of human and personalized commercial interactivity, more precise, focused and efficient use of our time and the knowledge gained through the synergy of “crowds” which can help us leapfrog incremental solutions to large-scale fundamental solutions and change.
Jeff Bezos gets all of this: Amazon leapfrogged over the entire retail industry (and still does). Their sophisticated understanding and use of AI makes it possible for the systems across their value chain talk to each other seamlessly integrating a demand-driven, efficient, quick and convenient distribution chain, from sourcing all the way through to fulfillment with the consumer.
Traditional legacy brick-and-mortar sectors have been slow to adopt to technology, not because they don’t intellectually understand what needs to be done, but rather, it’s the daunting magnitude and complexity of getting it done. As one executive put it: “It’s like flying a propeller-driven airplane and while in mid-air, changing the engine and all of the parts, to become a jet.”
Enter Intel as a Catalyst for Retailers
Help is here! Intel is leading a collaborative, retail community-focused initiative to provide retailers with fundamental (vs. incremental) frameworks for growth. Intel’s Open Retail Initiative (ORI) was launched at NRF’s Big Show, 2019, by Joe Jenson, Intel’s VP, Internet of Things Group and General Manager, Retail Solutions Division. He said, “Ten years ago, Intel formed the Retail Solutions Division at an opportune moment – the industry was ripe for disruption. At the time, the average store could barely make use of the information at its disposal. Because systems couldn’t talk to each other, nothing happened in real time. Retailers were giving up billions of dollars due to poor inventory management. And with little in the way of shopper analytics, they couldn’t easily understand their customer or personalize their in-store experience. In many, if not most, cases, shoppers walked into the store better equipped with both information and technology than the sales associates who were supposed to be helping them.
“Now, a decade later, the fundamentals of retail haven’t changed. Retailers that stay relevant have always focused on experience, quality and curation. Consumers are now expecting those fundamentals in a different way, and we’re (Intel) here to help. At Intel, our job is to be a catalyst for our customers and partners making that customer journey seamless – whether it’s curating immersive and personalized shopping experiences, fine-tuning inventory and supply chains, or driving operational efficiencies – so they can reinvest back into the customer experience.”
Intel’s Open Retail Initiative (ORI) is the first internet of things (IoT) open-source initiative that focuses on enabling retailers to unlock the power of data and insights within their businesses to scale and address market challenges. It removes barriers between innovators by connecting technologies and data through common, open-source frameworks. It promotes a free exchange of ideas within the retail industry to drive creative and technological advancement. Through collaborations within the EdgeX Foundry alliance and ecosystem partners Canonical, Dell, Envirosell, HP, JD.com, JDA, Petrosoft, RetailNext, SAS, Shekel Brainweigh, SUSE, Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, Verifone and VMware, Intel is removing barriers to technology adoption.
The ORI has the potential to accelerate iteration, flexibility and innovation across the industry. It provides the advantages of technology cost reductions, a quicker understanding of how to implement transformation, more efficient inventory optimization, and most important, elevated personalization in product, service and experience.
Whoa!!! How great is that? If these KPI’s are of interest to you (how could they not be?), accept Intel’s invitation to join the Open Retail Initiative. Link: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/retail/open-retail-initiative-article.html
To learn more and how to participate, Intel is hosting workshops across the globe with details on how to get started. Please email all inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Camilo Dennis at 1-480-552-2609.