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The Next Step in Your Store Analytics Strategy: Sensor Fusion

Retail has entered an era of unprecedented competition and accelerated evolution worldwide. Retailers in every category, both brick-and-mortar and online, face larger and more unpredictable threats than ever before, from digitization of goods and distributed manufacturing to autonomous, near-instant delivery, service robots, and online experiences with unprecedented realism, as disruptors such as virtual reality, 3D printing, drones and wearables take root.

While e-commerce growth is outstripping physical store expansion, the in-store experience is still a powerful part of the shopping experience. The Internet of Everything (IoE) offers new opportunities to make physical store shopping a better experience for the consumer and more lucrative for the retailer. By lighting up “dark assets,” retailers gains unprecedented insights into shopper behavior and operations, and can impact every piece of the value chain from merchandising and sales to workforce optimization, shopper experience and service.

Retailers light up dark assets by instrumenting physical stores with sensors and actuators such as Wi-Fi access points and shopping cart tags, beacons, video cameras, and even mechanical devices such as weight sensing shelves or humidity sensors. While these sensors themselves provide valuable new insights, often the greatest advantages are derived from combining multiple types of sensors and data through “sensor fusion.”

As just one example, pairing Wi-Fi location data showing a shopping path with point-of-sale data can highlight opportunities to improve conversion, where shoppers linger but don’t purchase. Likewise, combining video analytics of traffic entering the store with shelf sensing of the rate at which refrigerated goods are being picked up provides a more accurate forecast of staffing needs.

The business value of sensor fusion can be staggering – our studies show that a 1,500 store big box chain could save up to $100 million per year in cashier cost, at the same time as reducing checkout wait times by up to half – in fact, we predict that IoE could ultimately end up eliminating the checkout line. IoE also helps with the stubborn problem of on-shelf availability, where the largest retailers can lose more than $1 billion annually.

But that’s not all – sensor fusion is already being used to evaluate campaign effectiveness, optimize merchandising, and help suppliers and partners become the captains in their categories, as well as to reduce shrink and improve shopper and employee safety.

Please join us to learn more on Sept. 25 during my 45-minute webcast being held at 12:00 noon ET/9:00 am PT. It’s called “Why You Need Sensor Fusion in Your 2016 Retail Analytics Strategy,” and it’s jointly sponsored by Cisco and our partner RetailPoint, which offers POS solutions. I’ll speak for just half an hour about IoE in action in retail and the technologies enabling it, from video (the “supersensor”) to wearables to precision location and the single pane of glass for retail – the ultimate view of your business. Then we’ll spend 15-20 minutes in open discussion on how sensor fusion can help your store take the next step. Please register today!

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How Intercloud May Extend Cisco’s Leadership in Collaboration

Wow!  Last week was a big week for Cloud news.   Whilst Amazon Web Service, Microsoft and Google started a price war or ‘race to the bottom’ for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) services, Cisco came out with a potentially industry-shaping announcement around Cloud Services.

On March 24th Cisco announced plans to build the world’s largest global Intercloud together with a set of partners to create a network of clouds.  This is not a trivial investment, Cisco expects to invest more than $1 billion in its cloud business over the next two years.  This ‘Intercloud’ will feature APIs for rapid application development and will deliver a new enterprise-class portfolio of cloud IT services.

Cisco’s overall strategy for the cloud is based on the premise that there will be a “world of many clouds.” My colleague Fabio Gori wrote a great blog describing how Intercloud is the critical enabler to capture the immense value of the Internet of Everything (IoE).  In this post, Fabio provides a clear summary of how we see Intercloud impacting the next phase of cloud computing, the IoE and ultimately how we all collaborate.

Intercloud and Collaboration

Gartner consistently places Cisco in the Leaders Quadrant for Unified Communications, and we think the Intercloud can help us further extend our leadership by enabling our partners to offer even better experiences, on multiple devices, and across multiple platforms by connecting the world of many collaboration clouds.    Read More »

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