Pretty cool article on one of the IBM Retail labs. I haven't been here yet. I've been at some of the other IBM Retail labs in Dallas, Boston and Shanghai.
Inside IBM's software lab: Blue-sky thinkingIBM has created an innovation centre at Hursley that houses retail and RFID labs, which all of IBM's retail solutions partners are invited to use. Since the beginning of the year, the centre has also hosted 30 retailers – including major grocery chains – that come to test technology and work on solutions to specific business problems.
There are two hours' worth of demonstrations to see in the retail lab, but this is no store of the future – it is designed to show how today's leading-edge technology can assist retailers with the issues they face. For instance, on display is PCMS' IBM-based BeanStore EPoS system – being implemented by Marks & Spencer at present – as well as ZBD's electronic shelf edge labels, which have been tested by Tesco among others.
The centre's retail laboratory is set up to look like a store. And while it can be used to show quick demonstrations of how different suppliers' technology can be integrated, the computing power and data storage facilities at the centre's disposal mean that it can handle the actual volumes of data that a retail system would process. For example, Retail Week was shown a demonstration of electronic paper that can be used as price labels, with prices changed remotely throughout the day. Where IBM's retail lab comes in is in demonstrating how a price change in one system can be communicated instantly to all the other systems that need to know about the change, such as the ticketing system and EPoS system.