LAS VEGAS — Kroger on Wednesday partnered with eInfochips and Wincor Nixdorf on a new enterprise IT architecture called Retail Site Intelligence, the companies announced at the International Security Conference and Expo. This architecture for stores of the 21st century uses ZigBee wireless mesh networks to integrate long battery life sensors, hand held devices, point-of-sale devices and video management software into a next generation platform for retail applications such as loss prevention, store automation and analytics.
"Retail Site Intelligence is, above all, about Customer 1st innovation," stated Chris Hjelm, Kroger SVP and chief information officer. "We are leveraging technology to help customers have the best possible shopping experience in retail stores, whether by more easily finding the products they want or saving time at checkout," he said. "We expect Retail Site Intelligence to be the cornerstone of the technology infrastructure for Kroger stores in the future."
The introduction of the RSI architecture, and the deployment of new retail business solutions by Kroger, culminates two years of global collaboration between Kroger and eInfochips to develop the underlying technology products for Stores of the 21st century. The results of this phase of development are new wireless devices (cameras, scanners and scales) featuring ZigBee wireless technology, and Vigil360, a new video management software kernel designed specifically for RSI.
Commercial versions of the RSI solutions being piloted by Kroger will be available later in 2014 with support and customization services delivered globally.
Representatives from eInfochips, Kroger and Wincor Nixdorf will be demonstrating RSI products and applications including a new handheld bar-code scanner used by shoppers, and a loss prevention application using the world's first video camera which serves as both a video camera and a ZigBee Access Point. The new camera is easily integrated into a store's IP network for better camera network scalability and support.
"Most IT products are developed by design teams insulated from the user and application," suggested Frank Berry, founder and senior analyst, IT Brand Pulse. "Kroger's hands-on involvement in the development process has yielded products that are innovative and tailor made for digitized store environments."
Parag Mehta, the chief marketing officer at eInfochips added, "Our collaboration with Kroger to develop products for their Retail Site Intelligence Initiative embodies the trend of businesses partnering with technology companies to develop intellectual property for a sustainable competitive edge. The results of the Retail Site Intelligence project demonstrate why this trend is gaining momentum."