This year's Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE) has generated considerable commentary. In partnership with our Hitachi Europe colleagues, Hitachi Consulting hosted a constant stream of visitors to our stand where our major point of focus for this year's show was an exciting, emerging technology - LiDAR.
I spent an almost solid two days welcoming Retailers and discussing how our innovative solutions can reap huge business benefit. Unlike video technologies, LiDAR (which for the uninitiated stands for Light Distance And Ranging - think RADAR but using near-infrared Laser light rather than radio frequencies) has the potential to observe real-time movement in three dimensions. Rather than simply tracking customer's paths traced through a store/airport/mall/railway station/wherever, calibrated and set up correctly LiDAR can identify hand height and direction, too. This makes identification of what customers pick from shelves a reality - and also shows what they're not picking up, as well...
LiDAR manages this with total anonymity, ensuring that there are no privacy issues.
Hitachi has working examples across a number of sectors, including Retail. Judging from the interest from RBTE it won't be too long before a number of UK Retailers start to appreciate the opportunities LiDAR brings, too. The technology offers a new and exciting slant to in store Customer Experience (CX) and, with some sophisticated, rather sexy analytics, has the potential - at last! - to unlock insight into one of Retail's most difficult-to-answer questions: what do my customers actually do when they enter my stores?
Do you want to see the light?
Hitachi has very cleverly encompassed multipurpose functionality into this technology, so that it can be deployed to identify stock loss, promote customer engagement, measure and track footfall, and measure success of promotions and product visual merchandising