Increasingly, shopping experiences are happening online. The future of retail lies in systematically connecting the analog and digital worlds. Customer experiences and the services offered diverge considerably in the two realms. Not enough SMEs have spotted the opportunity presented by connecting analog and digital in this way.
Customers are becoming more demanding and are impatient when it comes to availability. They want tailored advice and services – at any time and ideally free of charge. Sustainability, transport chains and climate protection are on the minds of consumers. The need for data protection correlates with a willingness on the part of customers to share personal data when it creates added value for them personally. Availability and above all the intelligent use of data in commerce – that is the challenge.
The solution explained
Together with our project partners, we are working on the “Knowledge4Retail” platform for smart commerce, which forms the core for complex AI applications in planning as well as for robotics applications in the retail store. It connects online commerce with its brick-and-mortar sibling, facilitates strategic marketing and opens up digital solutions for tailored customer service. This open-source platform provides “semantic digital twins” of retail outlets as a powerful database to support various AI and robotics applications from different providers. In this way, it reduces the setup and installation times and cost barriers for retail businesses when introducing AI solutions. In addition, it lowers entry barriers for SMEs in the IT sector who have specialized in individual AI applications. By virtue of the platform’s open standards, these SMEs obtain easy access to the IT infrastructure of the retail businesses.
Within the project, Fraunhofer IIS/EAS is developing a sensor system for the data-protection-compliant capturing of people’s movements in retail spaces based on vision systems on chip according to the privacy-by-design principle.