Singtel showcases smart retail technology

  • March 6, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Singapore telco Singtel is opening a 5G-enabled smart retail showcase to help enterprises adopt digital technology to meet changing retail consumer demands.

Designed to look like a real store, the showcase will feature technology from Apple’s enterprise partners that help enhance retail workflows, improve operational efficiencies and create a better shopper experience, which retailers can explore.

“The pandemic has motivated retailers to become more innovative in engaging with customers, both online and through physical in-store experiences, driving retail enterprises to seek technology to remain relevant and profitable,” said Dennis Wong, vice president of Singtel. “Retailers also continue to face common issues like figuring out how to attract customers with unique and personalised shopping experiences, increase customer engagement and retention, and improve productivity in a tight labour market, among others.”

Enterprises can leverage Singtel’s high-speed connectivity and low latency 5G network and multi-edge computing (MEC) to explore innovations they can apply in their physical or online stores.

For a start, the showcase will feature technology from six providers – SFX, Dabton, Matterport, Zühlke, Scandit and Eleos. These will leverage Apple products and software with built-in features such as machine learning and lidar to unlock digital capabilities at scale.

They will be deployed through Apple products including iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone SE, iPad Pro and iPad Mini, which have all-day battery life to reduce downtime during store hours. Together with Singtel’s 5G network, businesses will be able to deploy retail applications for computational photography, spatial measurement and real-time operations monitoring to achieve their business transformation goals.

The retail applications can also be managed via Singtel Paragon, an all-in-one orchestration platform for 5G, MEC and cloud services, which provides enterprises with a single portal to conduct network analytics, manage connectivity and workloads across their infrastructure for different connectivity needs, and deploy retail applications at the edge of the network to meet the demands of their businesses and customers.

The platform also provides access to the Paragon Marketplace, where enterprises can list or acquire retail applications for immediate deployment.

Developer frameworks such as Arkit and Core ML drive augmented reality and machine-learning capabilities to create lifelike environments, visualisation and shared experiences along with real-time insights and actions powered by 5G.

On entering the showcase, a customer can use an iPad or iPhone to create and customise his or her digital avatar using SFX’s Reality Transform platform to interact with a customer service officer on topics from product enquiries to mobile payments. Besides, opening up a new channel of communications to the traditional face-to-face engagement, this could potentially mitigate the labour crunch facing the retail sector and enable the redesign of jobs for older retail workers who will no longer need to spend long hours standing inside a retail store.

With Dabton’s AR and VR offerings, which include Matterport’s suite of digital-twin platforms, retail enterprises can develop a digital twin of the physical store, enabling customers to shop in a photorealistic still-life version of the store. Using their mobile device, the shopper can view a product from any angle, zoom in to inspect and try on the product before making a purchase, all without physically stepping into the physical store.

Zühlke offers a reimagined experience for retail by leveraging technologies such as Scandit’s MatrixScan and smart data capture for seamless integration and efficient store operations. Designed for iPhones and iPads, it provides store associates and customers with real-time data such as product information and inventory levels through an augmented reality interface. Moreover, deploying mobile point of sale with Scandit enables shoppers to pay seamlessly wherever and whenever they are in-store.

Retailers can leverage Eleos’ suite of retail management tools to manage a myriad of back-of-house functions such as real-time mobility order management and AR-enabled real-time inventory management. It also includes an ecommerce tool to develop an online store to support augmented reality and a customer relationship management tool to track conversions, personalise engagement and gain customer insights. Unified commerce capabilities enable synchronised inventory between physical stores, online stores and even marketplaces.

About half the size of a standard badminton court, the showcase at Singtel’s Centre of Digital Excellence at Telepark, Tampines, comprises a front-of-house retail fashion store and a back-of-house storeroom to simulate the environment of a real store.

A kiosk in the front of housecontains several Apple devices such as iPhone and iPad, equipped with SFX’s digital avatar and Eleos’ suite for mobile payment and inventory management dashboard for customers to bridge and align operations across parts of a retail store or across physical locations.

A test area with AR and Apple devices equipped with Matterport and Dabton’s digital-twin products can create interactive and photorealistic digital environments of stores so customers can access them from anywhere.