Verizon Business and Deloitte hope to help retail locations “unlock” in-store data with a 5G and mobile edge computing (MEC) digital platform that is designed to deliver real-time analytics to improve customer engagement, inventory efficiency and associate productivity.
When combined with sensor-based analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR), Verizon’s 5G network and MEC platform is expected to address common shopping challenges, such as out-of-stock items, as well as make possible desired features like frictionless/cashierless checkout.
According to Anthony Stephan, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and U.S. Consulting consumer industry lead, the impact of 5G and MEC on the retail industry will be “seismic,” particularly because of how it will enable frictionless retail experiences and improve asset productivity.
“Our collaboration with Verizon Business and SAP enables us to efficiently and effectively address the concerns of retailers today, providing a best-in-class digital transformation experience that can respond and deliver at the speed of 5G,” he added.
One specific use case for the platform being explored by the companies is real-time actionable intelligence to address out-of-stock shelf inventory management. In-store associates will receive automated replenishment notifications from the platform when it is time to refill shelves, while distribution centers will receive alerts to allocate additional inventory.
In addition, the pair are working with SAP to integrate its software suite into the retail platform, which the companies claimed in a statement will “offer retailers sustainable business performance and profitability acceleration across key levers, such as revenue, cost of goods sold and operating margin.”
In December, Verizon solidified its interest in the retail space with the planned deployment of its Network as a Service (NaaS) to more than 9,000 Walgreens and Duane Reade retail locations across the U.S.
Verizon described its NaaS as an on-demand solution that takes multiple technologies and delivers a single solution to the customer to enable digital transformation. As a result of the partnership, the retail locations will have access to Verizon’s LTE, 5G and Verizon Media.
This time around, Verizon Business appears to be leaning heavily on support from partners, with the company’s CEO Tami Erwin, commenting on the excitement about unveiling who it will be working with.
“It’s an exciting moment to unveil this innovative retail collaboration with Deloitte and SAP,” said Erwin. “We are entering a new era of technology-led disruption at the exact same moment every retailer is looking to accelerate digital transformation, increase productivity and improve customer experiences. We’re ready to open the doors to Verizon’s transformative 5G and mobile edge compute platform and look forward to helping our customers reimagine everything from their employee experience and supply chain to end-customer use cases.”