Q Beyond IoT platform digitalises stores

  • December 8, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

German IT services provider Q Beyond has introduced StoreButler, a cloud and IoT platform for digitalising stores.

The platform aims to make it easier for retailers to deploy digital technologies at their stores by removing the need to connect and control each addition separately via the company’s IT.

StoreButler takes care of all aspects of data exchange between systems, terminal devices, sensors and apps. Companies such as Neptune, Snabble, ReAct and Pricer are supporting the launch version of the platform with their retail technology. Q Beyond is also making internally developed retail technology available on the platform.

“What makes store digitalisation so challenging is the sheer volume of new services, data sources and devices, all of which have to be integrated into the retail IT system,” said Thorsten Raquet, a member of Q Beyond’s management. “StoreButler standardises communications with all digital technologies at the store and reduces the time needed to launch new solutions to just a few weeks, or even days.”

One way to use the launch version is to control electronic price tags.

“Prices can then be changed at all stores in a matter of minutes, for example when prices revert to the old VAT rate at the beginning of 2021,” said Raquet.

It can also speed up picking processes by up to 30 per cent. When shoppers order goods online and pick them up at the store, smart price tags use light signals to guide sales staff round the shelves when packing the shopping carts.

StoreButler displays goods across all stores that will soon pass their best-before expiry dates. The system automatically makes adjustments to the prices.

“This kind of approach enables retailers to reduce their expiry write-downs by 15 per cent,” said Raquet.

StoreButler is already used for this purpose at selected stores of a large retailer.

The platform combines various technologies developed at Q Beyond in the fields of cloud and the IoT. Its main components are cloud technology and an edge device at each store – the StoreButler box. This connects local terminal devices and sensors to central management in the cloud. Via standard interfaces, StoreButler supplies the digital store infrastructure with product data from the retailer’s merchandising system and processes sensor and device data from the points of sale.

“The crucial benefit of this approach is that retailers now only need one infrastructure for all digital solutions at their stores,” said Raquet. “They are not tied to one technology provider, but can rather combine the best available on the market in their StoreButler. It is a prime example of our claim at Q Beyond to expect the next. With the StoreButler, we can supply a flexible, extendable and integrated end-to-end solution that, drawing on our sector competence and IT expertise, pools a wide variety of technologies and delivers exactly what our customers expect.”

At the beginning of next year, Q Beyond intends to extend the StoreButler with a low-code environment enabling retailers to develop their own apps and immediately use these on the platform.

Q Beyond results from the rebranding of QSC in September 2020. It has nationwide locations and its own certified data centres.