Moto Connects Retail


As we move toward a world where the enterprise is fully connected, M2M (machine-to-machine)-enabled devices and systems are providing visibility into both customer-facing and behind-the-scenes processes and systems. The goal is to use technology to anticipate the needs of employees, owners/operators, and of course, customers.

Motorola Solutions,, recently introduced its vision for the retail industry in the 2012 Future of Retail study. The study reflects a strong opinion that technology will have a leading role in shaping the retail environment of tomorrow.

Perhaps surprisingly, most survey respondents believe the brick-and-mortar store will remain the No.1 shopping channel during years to come. However, customers’ expectations about the in-store experience are likely to change; in fact, they already are changing.

The company says success in the future will depend on retailers’ ability to connect with customers, to harness devices to enable store associates, and to seamlessly empower the IT organization to meet business needs.

Devices such as Motorola Solutions’ SB1 smart badge—a small connected device designed to be worn on a lanyard around an associate’s neck or clipped to his belt—provide the realtime data needed to serve customers’ needs. Functionality of the SB1 includes price checking, inventory checks, and product information.

In fact, Motorola Solutions says M2M-enabled connected devices such as the smart badge, the new pocketable MC40 enterprise mobile computer, and the ET1 Tablet allow retail associates to perform product comparisons, look up items, and even close the sale using mobile POS (point-of-sale) technology. Key to these enterprise solutions is the company’s Mobile Workforce Management software, a realtime task-management solution.

It is not just the customer-facing environments that can benefit from technology. For numerous vertical markets, including retail, the warehouse is a vital hub; productivity and efficiency start here. In retail, for instance, “warehouse as a solution” is a growing trend. According to Mark Wheeler, director of supply-chain solutions, Motorola Solutions, connected devices and systems are already deployed extensively throughout its customer base.

Wheeler says new demands on retailers, including multichannel fulfillment and the ability to provide greater visibility into the fulfillment and tracking processes are encouraging the adoption of connected technologies in these behind-the-scenes processes.

By connecting not only the customer-facing retail storefront, but the warehouse and distribution channels, enterprises are giving key behind-the-scenes personnel the tools to operate as efficiently as possible. At the end of the day, no matter where connected solutions are being put to use, M2M devices are making a difference and will continue to play a role in the evolution of the retail experience.

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