Intel has unveiled a swathe of next-gen technologies that is designed to breathe new life into the bricks-and-mortar retail industry.
Speaking at the US National Retail Federation’s Big Show in New York City, CEO Brian Krzanich presented tech giant’s retail platform, dubbed ‘Intel Responsive Retail Platform (Intel RRP)’.
Intel hopes the new platform will improve its clients' operational efficiency and customer experience, and allow their physical and online presences to integrate seamlessly.
IoT is playing a crucial role within the platform, with the company’s retail sensor – first announced at the same event last year – core to its functionality.
Renamed the ‘Intel Responsive Retail Sensor’, the device consists of an integrated RFID reader and antenna, and is powered by an Atom processor.
Future iterations will incorporate additional sensor technologies, including video, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy.
These sensors will interface with an Intel-based HP gateway via Ethernet, removing the need for third-party middleware.
The gateways are based on Intel’s Core i7 or Xeon processors, and connect to the cloud via wired, wireless or 3G/LTE networks.
The processing power within these gateways will allow for data ingestion from multiple sensors, data compression and filtering, and real-time analytics on the device.
Finally, an open-source analytics platform-as-a-service will be provided for cloud applications. This platform can run on public cloud infrastructures, such as AWS and Azure, and can be further extended and customised by solution providers.
In a blog post, Krzanich outlined his company’s commitment to the platform, announcing an investment of US$100 million over the next five years.
“The investment will enable retailers to unify every part of their operations, create a positive impact on their bottom line, and solve longstanding business challenges,” he added.
Intel will be working with a diverse ecosystem of partners to deploy Intel RRP, including Fujitsu, Honeywell, Arrow Intelligent Systems and SAP, among others.
Retail robot assistant demoed
One of the more innovative products demonstrated by Intel at the retail event was Tally, an autonomous shelf auditing and analytics robot.
Tally is designed to work with shopfloor staff to provide them with inventory information, and to ensure that shelf labels are correct.
Built by Simbe Robotics, Tally is powered by Intel’s Core i7 processor-based Next Unit of Computing (NUC) device, and contains a number of RealSense cameras to perceive and navigate its surroundings.
According to Intel, the RealSense cameras also ensure that the robot can operate safely amongst shoppers and employees alike, and does not require any infrastructure changes in-store.
Other tech on display included on-demand, in-store 3D knitting; real-time, data-driven clothing and shoe matching platforms; and virtual reality, allowing for merchants and brands to simulate shopping experiences, conduct virtual walkthroughs of store layouts, and visualise marketing and merchandising concepts.