The management of a retail chain involves many stores in different regions with many equipment units, a great number of commodities, a vast logistics and distribution network, huge cash flows and commercial promotions based on knowledge about consumer behaviors.
As we move forward into Internet of Things (IoT) Era, retailers now are able to connect up all the devices and people involved in their business, realize machine-to-machine and machine-to-people communications so that they can better understand their equipment and their consumers, implement more efficient management, and upgrade consumer services.
Take convenience stores as an example; when devices in stores are connected to an intelligent network, many potential applications can be developed—by connecting lights, refrigerators and air conditioners, retailers may develop a cloud-based equipment management system to implement remote diagnosis and preventive maintenance, or an automated lighting and air conditioning system that achieves optimal indoor air quality and energy conservation.
In addition, by installing video cameras in and around the stores, the captured images can be streamed to the cloud to implement image analytics for security purposes or customer behavior analysis. And, by connecting the POS system to the cloud, sales and inventory can be monitored and retailers can develop a bird’s eye view of cash flows at all stores.