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How the connected smart store will enhance the retail experience

What Smart Stores Look Like

Smart Store Retail Network

Forward-Thinking Retailers Depend on Agile, Dependable Networks More Than Ever

In retail, smart stores and connected everything have captured the attention of the public as well as the technology community. Retailers are leading the way in testing and implementing customer engagement and operations strategies that someday will be adopted across virtually all industries.

In turn, retail enterprises are moving away from legacy network technologies and toward solutions engineered for the complexities of IoT, high-bandwidth usage, and the fluctuating needs of companies that must be able to change direction on a dime.

Customer Engagement Technologies

One area ripe for testing and implementing smart retail technologies is customer engagement efforts. Today’s customers demand personalized, interactive experiences that seamlessly connect the online and in-store experience. Emerging smart store technologies are designed to strengthen and deepen the retailer’s relationship with the customer.

Examples of relationship-enhancing technologies include:

  • Facial recognition technology: In-store cameras and video analytics software recognize a customer’s face and serve up offers customized to that individual’s preferences and buying history.
  • Interactive mirrors: These smart mirrors allow customers to see how a certain clothing item would fit without ever trying it on. These mirrors also leverage RFID tracking to help capture customer behavior, recording data regarding how long customers spend in dressing rooms, how they behave when an item doesn’t fit, and which items they are most likely to purchase.
  • Smart shelves: These devices recognize when customers pick up items and whether they put them back down, allowing retailers to gather behavioral data and make better decisions around pricing and merchandising.
  • Robotics: Customer service robots greet customers as they enter stores, sometimes using facial recognition technology to deliver tailored messages. Robots can also be used to fetch and deliver items to customers.
  • Seamless checkout: Using RFID and/or video analytics technology, retailers allow customers to check out without standing in line or even scanning items. Customers may use an app on their phones to confirm their purchases and pay.

Operational Technologies

Whereas customer-facing technologies help retailers increase revenue, operations-facing technologies reduce expenditures and improve efficiency.

Often, retailers adopt customer-facing technologies that can serve a dual operational purpose. Examples of emerging operational technologies include:

  • Advanced HVAC and lighting controls: These systems can be programmed and controlled remotely. A more recent development in such systems is the ability to enable automatic adjustments based on exterior conditions such as temperature and weather. Some smart power controls can actually react to happenings on the power grid, such as rolling brownouts, and adjust accordingly.
  • Advanced loss prevention: Retailers can use the same video analytics technology for both customer recognition — as outlined above — and retail loss prevention.
  • Interactive digital signage: The same signage used to present varied content to customers can also be used for employee training and video conferencing.
  • Robotics: Robots track and move merchandise in warehouses, allowing retailers to fulfill more online orders and more efficiently manage shipments to brick-and-mortar locations.

Cradlepoint 4G LTE Connected devices and software are available from Co-Star.

Source: Cradlepoint.

 

Cradlepoint NetCloud to provide secure connectivity for people, places and things

CRADLEPOINT logoCradlepoint NetCloud™ Platform Leverages Pertino Acquisition to Provide Secure Connectivity for People, Places, and Things

Platform strategy enables software-defined and cloud-based wired and wireless broadband networks for branch, mobile, and IoT; SoftBank Corp. is the first carrier partner

Cradlepoint, the global leader in cloud-based network solutions for connecting people, places, and things over wired and wireless broadband, announced Cradlepoint NetCloud, a new platform strategy that combines its existing software and cloud services with the Software-Defined Networking (SDN) technology from the recent acquisition of Pertino. The strategy will be rolled-out in several phases over the next six months.

In a separate announcement today, Cradlepoint and SoftBank Corp., a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp. and a leading provider of mobile, fixed-line, and Internet communication services in Japan (TOKYO: 9984), announced the commercial availability of WhiteCloud OneLayer on Cradlepoint NetCloud. The co-branded service lets customers instantly build branch, mobile, and IoT networks in the cloud with a layer of policy-based services for end-to-end security and control. SoftBank is the first carrier to deliver managed network services using the platform. OneLayer on Cradlepoint NetCloud will be sold through SoftBank’s direct sales organization in Japan and through its subsidiaries and partnerships around the world.

“Cradlepoint’s NetCloud lets us harness cloud, SDN, and NFV technologies to rapidly deliver new services that meet our customers’ evolving network needs in this new era of Internet-centric IT,” said Sadahiro Sato, senior vice president at SoftBank Corp. “Instead of building and managing multiple physical networks, OneLayer on Cradlepoint NetCloud lets customers deploy a single cloud-based WAN that can be configured in minutes to meet the specific needs of connecting remote sites, workers and IoT devices anywhere in the world.”

About Cradlepoint NetCloud
Companies across industries are embracing cloud, mobile, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to increase business agility, empower distributed workforces, and gain operational insights—driving the need for always-connected people, places, and things. As a result, an increasing amount of enterprise network traffic is moving off private IP networks and onto the public Internet. The Cradlepoint NetCloud platform is designed specifically for this new “Interprise” era and allows companies to deploy private cloud networks over wired and wireless broadband Internet services for branch, mobile workforce, vehicle, and IoT networks.

“The Cradlepoint NetCloud platform is at the heart of our strategy to extend leadership in cloud-managed 4G LTE solutions to the emerging opportunity for converged, software-defined enterprise networks designed to connect people, places, and things over Internet broadband,” said George Mulhern, Cradlepoint CEO. “We are pleased to partner with SoftBank in delivering OneLayer on Cradlepoint NetCloud, the first carrier-delivered service that runs on our new platform strategy.”

Cradlepoint NetCloud is based on the integration of the company’s proven Enterprise Cloud Manager (ECM) platform for management and zero-touch deployment of its 4G LTE-enabled routers and M2M/IoT gateways with Pertino’s Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) platform that leverages cloud, SDN, and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) technologies. The new integrated platform provides an entirely new way to build, secure, control, and manage end-to-end private networks in the cloud using wired and wireless broadband Internet services. Cradlepont NetCloud will be rolled-out in several phases starting with today’s rebranding of the Pertino Cloud Network Engine service as Cradlepoint NetCloud Engine and followed in less than 90 days with single-pane-of-glass management and router integrations.

“While all eyes are on the SD-WAN space and the pending refresh of MPLS branch networks, Cradlepoint’s new NetCloud platform strategy, and its first carrier partnership with SoftBank, highlights the significant opportunity for SDN and NFV—wrapped in a cloud model—to transform wired and wireless consumer broadband into enterprise-grade networks,” said Lee Doyle, principal analyst at Doyle Research. “The benefits of this private-intranet-over-public-Internet approach extends beyond the branch, addressing the distributed security and policy enforcement challenges unique to cloud, mobility, and IoT deployments within the enterprise.”

To support the SoftBank partnership and sales expansion in the Asia Pacific region, Cradlepoint has established offices in Japan and Australia.

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