The ZigBee Alliance, a non-profit association of companies creating, maintaining and delivering open, global standards for the low-power wireless Internet of Things (IoT), has signed a liaison agreement with the Global Market Development Center (GMDC), a general merchandise (GM), health, beauty and wellness (HBW) retail trade association with more than 600 members worldwide. GMDC will recommend the Alliance’s ZigBee 3.0 standard and its retail services components to member companies, and share the organization’s vision for transforming the shopping infrastructure and experience.
“Technology is driving a rapidly-changing and constantly evolving retail industry, and we have followed the leadership of the ZigBee Alliance and its members for quite some time,” says Patrick Spear, GMDC president and CEO. “Through this partnership, our members can now leverage the ZigBee 3.0 standard in their supply chain and across all of the systems controlling the in-store experience to significantly cut costs and improve flexibility as compared to using proprietary solutions. This will also improve product quality, tracking, marketing and merchandising, while creating new opportunities to dramatically increase customer loyalty through a better shopping experience. These innovations are allowing us to connect, collaborate and create commerce like never before.”
The ZigBee 3.0 standard and its retail applications allow retailers to take a holistic, seamless approach to implementing personal shopping assistants and gateways, intelligent shopping carts, asset tracking systems and energy management solutions, merchandising and marketing systems, pharmacy services and many other functions on a single network. This approach reduces costs and increases efficiency as compared to solutions using proprietary systems and technologies. ZigBee 3.0 retail applications offer new opportunities to gather information about customer shopping behavior that can be used to improve customer services. Retailers also can monitor items from the warehouse to in-store shelves, enhancing safety and ensuring quality through temperature and humidity monitoring during distribution. Shoppers benefit through an enhanced and more efficient and personalized shopping experience. The ZigBee 3.0 standard includes device definitions that are specific to retail service applications, as well as definitions for more common sensor and actuator applications allowing retailers to build highly integrated custom solutions using readily available off-the-shelf standard components.
“We are excited about this liaison, which will give GMDC members a much deeper understanding about how to use the ZigBee 3.0 standard to build solutions that best fit the specific requirements of their retail environments,” says John E. Osborne II, chairman of the board for the ZigBee Alliance and general manager, The Kroger Co. R&D. “The ZigBee 3.0 standard enables a fully integrated ecosystem of technology suppliers, merchants, distribution centers and residential and commercial consumers to all take advantage of a standard way to purchase, fulfill, automate and monitor the purchase and delivery of goods.”
“This liaison expands the market opportunities for ZigBee Alliance solutions in the retail space,” says Tobin Richardson, ZigBee Alliance president and CEO. “Our solutions are already widely deployed in retail operations for facility-related uses such as building automation, and by consumers for smart devices and appliances used in the connected home. Now, we take the next step with the GMDC to extend the benefits of ZigBee Alliance technology for retailers and their customers across a broader range of connected systems—something other standards simply can’t do in an easy and scalable way.”
Development of the ZigBee 3.0 standard and its retail services components was led by retail and wireless communications leaders including The Kroger Co., Philips, Schneider Electric, Texas Instruments, AT&T, Exegin, Nietzsche, San Juan Software, STMicroelectronics, Telecom Italia, Ubilogix, V-Mark and Wincor-Nixdorf.