OmniLocation + geomatics = modern-day presence technologies

smartphone-location

With billions of smart phones, and even more IoT devices, blanketing the world and capable of transmitting location and other data, it is possible to track anyone and anything at any time. This puts presence technology – technology that has been around for decades – on steroids and gives companies access to all sorts of operational and customer data. So where does it all lead?

Before we delve into the developments that have amped up presence technology, let’s consider the benefits of such wide-spread access (we acknowledge that there are plenty of potential pitfalls to the access, especially relating to privacy and security, but we’ll save those for another discussion).

When advanced presence technologies are used in tandem with DXC OmniLocation tracking to monitor a supply chain, companies will know when a shipment is delayed and the reasons why. Add in geomatics, which enable analysis and the management of all that geospatial data collected, and problem solving can be done in real time, too. Companies can fix the snag holding up the shipment and make adjustments up and down the supply chain to mitigate any fallout from the delay. And the information can be used to prevent the issue from happening again.

In another use-case scenario, companies can install OmniLocation tracking in brick-and-mortar stores to create a digital picture of a retail space that’s automatically updated to accurately portray customers’ experiences. By applying geomatics to all the in-store location-based metrics retailers can collect, they can better understand and improve their customers’ in-store. An important point to consider: Capturing customers’ in-store experience can be done easily without capturing any personally identifiable data.

OmniLocation and geomatics can work well with retailers’ omnichannel strategies — multi-channel sales approaches that connect in-store, online, mobile and even catalogs into an integrated operation so customers’ experience is cohesive, engaging and enjoyable.

So, what types of advanced presence technology can be used to enable these new capabilities? Everything from LiDAR, 3-D facial sensors, long range low power (LoRa) wireless systems for internet of things (IoT) applications, Bluetooth tags with multi-sensor functionality and machine learning, as well as more established technologies such as real-time location systems (RTLS), geofencing, Wi-Fi tracking, RFID and IoT.

LiDAR, or light detection and ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges and generate precise, three-dimensional information. It has become a key component in self-driving cars, and as the technology continues to evolve and its price point drops, its use in retail and other applications will rise. And the 3D images LiDAR creates do not give any personally identifiable information.

Emerging technologies such as facial recognition can provide insights into customers’ state-of-mind. Walmart is reportedly experimenting with technology that uses video cameras to monitor customers’ facial expressions and movements as they stand in line to check out. If the system detects an unhappy customer, it can alert employees to report to a register.

All the smart phones customers carry can provide information, too. A store’s wi-fi hotspots can anonymously track customer movement via the wi-fi connectivity that’s often left activated on people’s smartphones. And then there are pressure- and heat-sensitive tags that, when placed on products, can detect if something is picked up and how long it is held. That kind of information can let a retailer know about one jacket style that was tried on dozens of times in a week, while another was never even taken off the rack. Products tagged with RFID and Bluetooth also can provide critical inventory information. Employees with handhelds can more easily run inventories or track down misplaced items, and smart shelves can do so automatically.

Together, all these advanced OmniLocation technologies and geomatics give companies a much more complete picture of the enterprise. That end-to-end view will help them optimize supply chains, streamline operations, boost productivity, improve the customer experience and ultimately grow revenue.

DXC OmniLocation is an enterprise visibility product and services suite that delivers everything companies need for logistics planning, monitoring, management and geomatics. It includes system engineering, hardware, commercial off-the-shelf software, and hybrid cloud and managed services. To learn more, check out the DXC white paper, Optimizing the in-store retail experience using geomatics.


Michael-Boykin-headshotDr. Michael Boykin is the Americas’ industry chief technologist for the DXC Technology Consumer Packaged Goods and Retail business segments. Michael brings more than 25 years of technology strategy and leadership experience, and works with DXC clients, offering teams and technology partners to cultivate industry solutions and technology strategies that accelerate our clients’ digital transformation initiatives.

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