Edge AI

The Retail Edge

March 4, 2024
4 mins read

How mobile network operators can utilize edge computing to transform the retail experience

The pandemic has brought about permanent changes in the retail landscape. The surge in online purchases, which rose by 32% in 2020 and has maintained double-digit growth since then, has significantly impacted the industry. However, despite the advantages of online sales, this trend isn't entirely favorable for retailers. The shift to online shopping has the potential to reduce impulse purchases, which often yield higher margins. A study surveying over 3,000 shoppers found that 82% of their purchase decisions were made while in store.

To add, the pandemic has also underscored the shortcomings of digital engagement, particularly in consultation-driven markets. By facilitating direct, personalized engagements, retail stores provide an unparalleled way to address consumers' very human need to experience products first-hand. For mobile network operators (MNOs) in particular, retail stores prove to be a vital element in their modern omnichannel strategy.

Edge data insights powering customer experience

What role can edge computing play when it comes to MNO’s omnichannel strategies? Retail is a key industry when it comes to the adoption of edge computing, given the need to constantly innovate and improve consumers’ shopping experiences. To compete in an increasingly digital marketplace, retailers are seeking methods to recreate online customer interactions within their physical stores. Adopting edge computing technologies can help them do exactly that. By processing and analyzing data closer to the source of its generation, at or near the edge of the network, retailers can gain important real-time, actionable insights. Other advantages of edge computing in retail include:

Low latency for enhanced customer experience

Edge computing reduces latency by processing data closer to the source. In mobile operator stores, this means faster response times for customer-facing applications, such as account activations, bill payments, and service inquiries. This improved latency contributes to a seamless and positive customer experience.

Real-time analytics and personalization

Edge computing enables real-time analysis of customer data, allowing mobile operators to personalize offerings and promotions based on individual customer preferences. This capability enhances customer engagement and loyalty by delivering relevant services and promotions at the right time.

Efficient network management

Mobile operator stores can use edge computing to efficiently manage and optimize their network infrastructure. By processing data locally, operators can perform real-time analytics on network performance, identify issues, and implement solutions quickly, leading to improved service reliability.

Edge-based content delivery

Edge computing allows mobile operators to cache and deliver content closer to the end-users, reducing the load on the core network and improving content delivery speeds. This is particularly beneficial for delivering high-bandwidth content, such as video streaming, which is becoming increasingly popular among mobile users.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) experiences

Edge computing can enhance the capabilities of AR and VR applications in mobile operator stores. These technologies can be used for interactive product demonstrations, virtual tours, or troubleshooting guides, providing customers with immersive and engaging experiences.

Improved retail operations

Edge computing helps optimize internal retail operations, such as inventory management, point-of-sale transactions, and customer service. By processing data locally, mobile operator stores can streamline these processes, reduce wait times, and enhance overall operational efficiency.

Enhanced security and fraud detection

Edge computing contributes to improved security by processing and analyzing data locally. Mobile operator stores can implement real-time fraud detection mechanisms, secure customer data, and monitor security events more effectively, reducing the risk of fraudulent activities.

Cost savings and resource optimization

Edge computing can lead to cost savings by reducing the need for extensive data transfer to central cloud servers. Additionally, optimized resource utilization at the edge helps mobile operator stores scale their operations efficiently without unnecessary infrastructure investments.

Edge Signal AI-powered edge computing platform

At Edge Signal, we provide ready-to-use edge infrastructure to MNOs to enable them to gain unique insights, drive efficiencies, and increase operational effectiveness, contributing to a more agile and customer-centric retail environment. By connecting and managing existing shop infrastructure including cameras, Edge Signal is able to convert video footage into actionable insights, enhance visitor and employee experience, provide compliance audits, and more.

By providing an abstraction layer that removes technological and organizational complexities, Edge Signal enables digitization at the edge with flexible, project-oriented, role-based access control for easy and secure coordination of multiple parties, including Information Technology, Operational Technology, Application Provider, System Integrators, and other partners. The heart of the Edge Signal platform is a single pane of glass management system with AI-based advanced monitoring, alert, log, metric, and remote-control capabilities. Edge Signal enables devices and gateways to be controlled, made more secure, and updated without costly on-site technicians or remote hands.

With Edge Signal, MNOs can capture key traffic metrics to understand store dynamics with real-time heatmaps, queue analytics, conversion metrics, and more. Edge Signal also enables them to capture insightful pass-by traffic and measure shopper behavior to optimize resources based on visit duration/frequency data. In addition, thanks to our AI-powered edge computing platform, MNOs can utilize edge AI and computer vision to enforce on-brand placement of all products and supporting collateral as well as perform automated audits to ensure compliance with applicable health and safety regulations.


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