Like all customer-centric companies, RetailNext is in the habit of asking its customers questions like, “What’s next?” It’s always a great question to ask, and it’s particularly helpful in developing a product and/or solution roadmaps.
But, you have to know going in that the answers are likely not going to be easy to deliver. After all, if they were easy, you – or someone else – would already be doing it.
RetailNext customers have long realized the value of aggregated data from in-store shopping activities, but several years ago they identified a large opportunity. With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), so much data was readily available, but the data sets were being collected by fusion of many different sensor technologies, including video, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth BLE, beacons and so on. All of a sudden, to gain a complete data set, retailers were faced with installing and deploying a variety of different sensor technologies.
That just wouldn’t do. Not only does a store full of sensors detract from the aesthetic design, but it also comes at a considerable cost in multiple, almost continuous installations, deployments, management and administration.
So, a few years ago, the answer to “what’s next?” was “Isn’t there some way to put all the sensors into one device?”
And that, my friends, is how a SaaS solution provider like RetailNext began to make its first-ever piece of hardware.
Introduced in 2016, RetailNext’s Aurora was the world’s first sensor to combine stereo video analytics, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a beacon into a single, stylish device, designed specifically for the discerning needs of retailers. And, since its introduction, it has been a tremendous success in market.
This year at NRF 2018, Retail’s Big Show & EXPO, RetailNext is proudly showcasing its follow up to groundbreaking Aurora sensor with the even more groundbreaking Aurora v2 all-in-one sensor.
Aurora v2 has the same integrated functions of stereo video analytics, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth BLE and a beacon, but has added two increased capabilities as requested by customers.
First off, Aurora v2 boasts the industry’s widest field of view. By covering more square footage per sensor, Aurora affords tremendous cost savings for both hardware and installation in attempting to cover large entrances for front door shopper traffic counts or enabling full path analyses of shopper activity throughout the entire store.
But, more than the widest field of view, Aurora v2 also features onboard, deep-learning based artificial intelligence (AI). That’s right, on the device, on the edge, eliminating the need for costly servers and the like.
So, why do stores need artificial intelligence? In the effort to cut through the hype, it’s a great question.
First, artificial intelligence allows machine learning to ascertain what a shopper looks like. Gone are mistakes in traffic counting caused by reflections, shadows, mannequins, shopping carts piled high with merchandise, etc. What retailers end up with is the most accurate shopper traffic counts possible, and that’s an immediate value-add. Without an inherent trust in the numbers, it’s nearly impossible to manage the most fundamental of store operations metrics like simple conversion.
Moreover, artificial intelligence now enables retailers to determine what activities and behaviors shoppers are doing in store. Dwells have long determined whether shoppers are engaging with products, product displays, staff, etc. Now, retailers can gain insights into how shoppers are engaging (or not engaging). Are shoppers just looking at merchandise or are they reaching out and touching products? If they’re touching products, are they picking them up and turning them around to get a full look? Are they trying them on? Are they taking the products to a fitting room or another location? Whatever questions a retailer has, the answers are now more readily available, and more insights into shoppers’ behaviors allows retailers to design and deliver better, more engaging shopping experiences.
The capabilities of in-store retail analytics are continuing to expand, and RetailNext proudly pushes innovation forward year after year. The “store of the future” has been a much discussed topic for years, but it’s important to realize the future that was is the present day that now is. The store of the future is a today thing, not a tomorrow thing, and RetailNext is leading the new retail revolution.
For more information on the Aurora v2 sensor, please download the Aurora v2 product brief.
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