Enabling Smart Retail with Azure IoT

Microsoft Azure IoT Suite to create a scalable, easy-to-deploy merchandise visibility solution that empowers retailers to respond quickly to fast-evolving consumer needs.

Business Case

Checkpoint Systems, a division of CCL Industries, is a global leader in merchandise availability solutions for the retail industry, encompassing loss prevention and merchandise visibility.

Checkpoint provides end-to-end solutions enabling retailers to achieve accurate real-time inventory, accelerate the replenishment cycle, prevent out-of-stocks and reduce theft, thus improving merchandise availability and the shopper’s experience.

Checkpoint’s solutions are built upon 45 years of radio frequency technology expertise, innovative high-theft and loss-prevention solutions, market-leading RFID hardware, RFID software, and comprehensive labeling capabilities, to brand, secure and track merchandise from source to shelf.

Checkpoint’s customers benefit from increased sales and profits by implementing their merchandise availability solutions, to ensure the right merchandise is available at the right place and time when consumers are ready to buy.  Checkpoint’s Merchandise availability solutions rely heavily on RFID systems which tag products and merchandises for automated identification and asset tracking. The data generated from these RFID tags is connected to their OAT system which processes and analyzes data for enabling billing solutions, fraud detection and consumer analytics.

Checkpoint were however experiencing scalability and availability issues with their OAT system, considering their application was hosted on an on-premise datacenter. This resulted in frequent crashes, downtime and slow reporting. To add to their challenges, The OAT system was built using legacy protocols and technologies which fueled the sluggish performance of their identification and asset tracking solutions.

Challenges

  • Checkpointrelied on legacy protocols, local servers and local storage to process and store RFID sensor data.
  • Their product Oat Systems was built to communicate with RFID and other sensors in retail shops to enable retails solutions for billing, fraud detection and consumer analytics was facing issues since the system was on premise and built on legacy protocols and technology.
  • Keeping data on local servers resulted into storage and data processing problems
  • Effective data collection with scalable streams was impossible with legacy socket protocol design

Solution

Mactores brings an Internet of Things (IoT) approach to solving Checkpoints business challenges and leading a digital transformation for the organizations and its customers around the globe. Mactores introduced Azure IoT platform which uses RAIN RFID, wirelessly connecting and networking everyday retail products, including inventory and assets, to their software applications such as ERP systems, inventory control and management systems. This allowed to bring real-time, accurate data about an item’s unique identity, location and authenticity into the systems.

  • Mactores helped Checkpoint design end to end cloud based IoT solution to enable scalable telemetry, device management and altering
  • Mactores consulted Checkpoint Systems to re-architect Oat Systems to Azure IOT, Stream Analytics, SQL Azure, HDInsight and Azure Machine Learning
  • Mactores build field gateway and Micro services enabled cloud system to manage devices and telemetry at scale

Business Outcome

Checkpoint Systems Inc collaborated with Mactores and Microsoft Corp. to bring its Checkpoint RFID software to the cloud, and enhance it with IoT and analytical tools.

The resulting visibility product, called Sense + Respond, helps to give multichannel retailers real-time insights and predictive analytics.  Sense +Respond utilizes Checkpoint’s internet of things platform for retailers, the OAT Foundation Suite, along with Microsoft Azure Cloud applications.The visibility app increases omnichannel fulfillment efficiency and service quality through sensor-enabled task-management applications and also optimizes last-mile delivery through real-time inventory transparency and order-fulfillment process automation, which increasing shelf availability due to improved tracking and accuracy,

Mactores enabled Checkpoint Systems deliver following benefits to their customers

  • Increased customer engagement and conversion across channels through real-time, sensor-enabled shopper insights, integrated with systems of record and business intelligence tools.
  • Increased omni-channel fulfillment efficiency, service quality and employee empowerment through sensor-enabled task management applications.
  • Improved supply chain agility and optimized last-mile delivery through real-time inventory transparency and order fulfillment process automation.
  • A 360-degree view of customer behavior and touch points through the integration of multi-modal sensor data (RFID, NFC, Location-Based etc.) with retailers’ existing systems of record.
  • Actionable and powerful insights to retailers by integrating Checkpoint’s rich IoT data and the powerful machine learning of Microsoft Azure for data mining and predictive analytics capabilities.

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