Transforming Retail With Edge Compute,
5G, IoT and AI
A Pathfinder paper navigates decision-makers through the issues surrounding a specific
technology or business case, explores the business value of adoption, and recommends the
range of considerations and concrete next steps in the decision-making process
The retail industry has experienced steady disruption over the last decade, with the COVID
-19 pandemic further
accelerating digital transformation in the sector. The primary technology driver of this
change is the confluence
of edge computing, 5G networks, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and artificial
intelligence/machine learning (AI/
ML). Connected retail technologies that enable real-time management of outcomes are key to
technologies are ushering in a new era of retail that is customer-centric, data-driven,
personalized and dynamic,
providing consumers with seamless physical and digital shopping experiences. Products and
delivered proactively, predictively and conveniently to customers, while yielding higher
profits for retailers.
- Business leaders in retail planning, sales, marketing and operations face significant
challenges: legacy brick-and-mortar retail is evolving, omnichannel operations are the
new norm and the expectations of digitally
savvy consumers are sky-high. The risk is real: 80% of consumers say they will stop
doing business with a merchant due to a poor customer experience.
- Retailers are making digital progress - but it is slow and needs to accelerate. Just 12%
of retailers say their
customer experience decisions are data-driven today.
- To stay ahead of the game, retail leaders are deploying or planning technology across
cases both in stores and in back-office facilities such as distribution and fulfillment
centers. Top use cases
include smart checkout, customer footfall analysis, real-time fraud detection,
packing and shipping, and demand-driven forecasting and fulfillment.
- To deliver those mission-critical use cases, retailers need to modernize their IT to
support an intelligent
and data-driven edge - IT infrastructure deployed in or close to store venues where
consumers live, work
and shop. Retailers are busy deploying intelligent edge in the form of app management
sensors, edge compute and storage, 5G connectivity, and AI/ML-enabled analytics.
of retail IT infrastructure is currently deployed at the edge; 77% of retailers expect
to increase edge
deployments significantly in the next two years.
- To successfully deliver the intelligent edge, retail lines of business (LoB),
operational technology (OT) and
information technology (IT) executives and teams must work closely together to align
business needs, digital
processes and technology requirements.