An all-digital production chain for producing smoothies demonstrates how state-of-the-art digital technologies can support businesses: Sensors record parameters such as temperature or fill level in real time. The solution transfers the data wirelessly to the cloud and triggers on-demand, resource-efficient processes: Which smoothie flavor will soon be sold out in the supermarkets? Which truck with supplies is located where on its delivery route at any given time? Does the farmer need to order fresh seed? With the Connected Greenhouse the digital supply chain regulates and optimizes itself automatically.
Digitalization is transforming the entire retail industry. Thanks to connected technology, the focus is shifting from the product to customers. Their requirements and wishes take center stage. Individual retailers and chain stores face the task of combining the advantages of store-based retailing with a digital experience environment. But often there is no uniform, high-quality mobile connectivity to meet these requirements in retail. Deutsche Telekom will be demonstrating at EuroShop how a private 5G campus network can be set up from public and private mobile communications as well as Wi-Fi for digital service processes, cleaning robots, price tag networks, or surveillance cameras. And how customers’ devices can be connected to the particular networks.
5G campus networks are also useful if raw materials and products have to be transported flexibly and cost-effectively using automated guided vehicle systems (AGVs) within production or intralogistics. If the envisaged route cannot be used at some stage, the vehicle obtains new route instructions from the edge cloud. 5G ensures that the vehicle can get to its destination much quicker and safer. On the Deutsche Telekom booth, visitors will be able to look at the relevant setting with augmented reality (AR) glasses and experience how the 5G campus networks work.
Outdated IT infrastructures still hamper the agility of businesses. These kinds of systems are costly, complex, and often difficult to maintain. In addition, new regulations and laws prove challenging for businesses and influence their business models. The applications are not cloud-native either and cannot use the public cloud functionalities. But businesses want to get away from high support and maintenance costs that legacy hardware generates. The private cloud solution Future Cloud Infrastructure (FCI) from Deutsche Telekom supports old and new operating systems and the associated applications. FCI is therefore a solution that combines the security and stability of the conventional IT infrastructure with the flexibility of the cloud. A software-defined data center with preconfiguration options connects legacy IT with state-of-the-art, cloud-native applications and stipulates individual digitalization times for each application.
What products, what service, what ambience is a customer looking for when shopping? What does their ideal, individual customer experience look like? Providing answers to questions like these on the customer experience is a crucial element in today’s retail success. Businesses must develop a 360-degree view of their customers if they want to provide them with relevant information at the required time. On the other hand, customers should always be able to contact the business at any time via their preferred channel, be that over the phone, via email, or Facebook Messenger. Stored customer data and information on buying behavior provide the requisite information in this respect. And the online and off-line environments can be optimally combined.
Here’s just one example: Sailing equipment supplier Atlantic Nautic launches its BOREAS 360° TOUCH navigation unit. Atlantic informs its customers via a newsletter (B2C), while also launching a campaign with special conditions for B2B customers. Sebastian, sailing school owner and Atlantic customer, receives the newsletter. He quickly flicks through it, but doesn’t react. Subsequently a member of the sales team contacts him. It turns out that Sebastian happens to be looking for some new navigation units. They arrange a meeting in the sailing school. A sample unit convinces Sebastian and he orders several units there and then, which Atlantic Nautic delivers the very same day. When he can’t install them, sailing school owner Sebastian rings the service hotline. A service engineer arrives at the agreed time to help him out – to Sebastian’s entire satisfaction.
Consumer goods in the market need maintenance or may even be faulty, customers buy online and take faulty products back to the store or they arrange an advice session in their local store – what all these processes have in common is that they must be processed quickly across departments or locations. Paper, phone calls, and emails in particular waste time and are prone to error. ServiceNow is the centralized platform for automating all kinds of service workflows. Such as with customer service, IT service management, device management, and field service – including deployment planning of the right personnel and the necessary spare parts. The service is requested on the service portal as a ticket, processed, and its completion status reported back. ServiceNow also automates processes for applicant management and for employee hiring and departures, and provides a reliable insight into staff turnover in all stores. Even the issue of customer returns, the bane of retailing with its time-consuming processes, can be implemented in ServiceNow on a cross-departmental basis and with supplier integration.
Software robots (RPA) for static transaction processes, which can be managed from ServiceNow, provide another EuroShop highlight. In the financial sector they make it easier, for instance, to reconcile customer payment data with actual payment receipts.
Thanks to digital price tags, whether on the shelf (smart tag) or on the product (fashion tag), prices for entire product groups and any number of goods as well as for individual items can be changed in real time to promote sales. From quantities in stock, product variants, product details through to product recommendations – any piece of information can be displayed for the customer. A large display offers lots of space. If an item is not in stock, customers can even use a QR code to order it online for delivery either to their home or to the store. Whether it's dynamic pricing, customer interaction in conjunction with the retail app, or payment with the Wirecard app on a smartphone: Off-line and online presence are combined seamlessly thanks to the smart tags.
One example: At Karstadt in Düsseldorf around 4,500 smart price tags have been in use since 2017. In 2019, another 50,000 garments were fitted with fashion tags. The digital tags are connected to the store’s merchandise management system. In this way, employees can change the prices of individual articles or multiple product groups on the sales floor within a matter of minutes, or even locate products.
In many residential areas there is a lack of parking spaces after hours. Parking spaces at supermarkets, furniture and DIY stores often go unused even though they are free after hours and are conveniently located. With after-hours parking, businesses offer their parking spaces outside business hours to users of Park and Joy – and thus generate additional income. Park and Joy is also used as a customer acquisition and retention tool. With the aid of the digital smart parking solution from Deutsche Telekom, users can find parking spaces easily and pay electronically. Park and Joy helps relieve the parking situation in residential areas and protect the environment. Businesses also receive an overview of the parking space utilization and can combat parking space misuse. The parking spaces can be monitored in real time using sensors. The permanently installed devices record whether a parking space is free or occupied.
Wholesalers are involved in many manual activities to check, for instance, order quantities and guarantee the product quality. High costs and the tying up of employee resources are the result. Artificial intelligence already affects us in many areas of our personal lives, such as in the form of voice assistants like Siri. But businesses too, such as the aforementioned wholesalers, can utilize AI profitably by optimizing and automating processes. Analyzing data, images, or speech using AI helps the wholesaler optimize its inventory process and provide quality control. It holds its inventories for less time, reduces its costs, and can nonetheless maintain delivery capacity. The delivery speed is optimized and customer satisfaction increases. The benefits are clear: cost savings, speed, zero errors. As a leading expert in big data analytics, Deutsche Telekom offers tailor-made solutions for wholesalers through which their businesses can also benefit from machine learning and deep learning.
Whether it’s perishable food, high-quality goods, special screws, or clothing: Merchandise regularly gets lost, perishes, or is damaged in transit. Tracking down or replacing products costs time, money and is stressful. Network trackers provide a solution. They signal when a shipment is out of place or the set temperature inside the delivery container changes. The problem is that trackers are too expensive for one-time shipments. Furthermore, the batteries on most devices only last a few days. The small low-cost tracker from Deutsche Telekom, however, communicates using minimal energy via the machine and sensor network NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT), mobile communications, or Wi-Fi. Batteries last up to five years. The low-cost tracker is even economical enough for tracking merchandise with one-time shipments. The tracker forwards the information on the position, temperature measurement, or jolt detection to Deutsche Telekom’s IoT platform. Optionally, an API can also be integrated into the backend/ERP systems. Furthermore, retailers can determine the arrival time of the shipment by analyzing data and so notify their customers promptly about delays.
Checking every credit card receipt one by one, reconciling them with the booking system, and archiving them digitally: Processing receipts takes administrators a lot of time and effort. Things are much simpler with the aid of digital software bots like the Blueprism Toolset. For the solution processes repetitive tasks automatically. Employees are free to concentrate on more challenging tasks. If Blueprism uncovers irregularities when reconciling the amounts, it automatically opens a ticket in ServiceNow, notifying the responsible employee in the process. The software bot also archives all the checked receipts in digital format.