Two days into the National Retail Federation’s annual Big show in New York and it’s clear to see that the retail industry is showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to embracing innovation.
This year on its booth, Microsoft is joined by partners demonstrating solutions covering augmented reality, cloud analytics and the internet of things. Attendees can try out Surface Studio – Microsoft’s latest desktop PC complete with 28-inch touchscreen – at the device bar, and see the latest retail technologies in action from the likes of AFS, Acuity, Neal Analytics, Orckestra and Mojix.
Here are some highlights from the show floor:
FaceCake Marketing Technologies has been showing off its latest range of augmented reality solutions, which are based on the premise of bringing a virtual element to shopping, such as allowing customers to virtually try on outfits and receive product recommendations when they’re in the changing room. In Microsoft's Innovation Zone, attendees can create a runway or AlterImage video in which they are the featured model, allowing them to view products on their own moving image. They can also preview the Swivel Virtual Closet with its InstaTry feature, which lets shoppers select complete looks seen in store, online, or even products in their own closet, and virtually try them on there and then.
Neal Analytics has been demonstrating a solution it has built for vending machine company Mars Drinks, which uses the Azure IoT Suite, Cortana Intelligence Suite and Power BI to connect vending machines to the cloud. The solution allows the company to analyse historical and real-time data on maintenance, distribution, performance, and stock levels.
Attendees can see a new shelf management solution in action with Shelfie – a robot which monitors the shelf environment and alerts staff about anything that needs sorting. It knows what the perfect shelf looks like and helps retailers measure how quickly stock gaps are addressed or new merchandise planograms are rolled out.
Mojix has partnered with Microsoft to showcase the potential of RFID-based real-time inventory solutions and blockchain-powered smart contracts.
Acuity Brands is showing the future of building management with its indoor positioning technology. See how wirelessly controlled LED lighting can help retailers to save considerable energy and maintenance costs, while deriving highly accurate, real-time locations of loyal customers, employees and critical assets.
Today marks the last day of the retail show, which has attracted more than 33,000 attendees from across the industry and given a platform to keynote speakers including Sir Richard Branson and Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and the founder of Shake Shack.