With Google Cloud Platform, Sensormatic Solutions helps retailers around the globe to be competitive in the digital era
Google Cloud Results
• Provides reliable, scalable, and more secure infrastructure for growth
• Significant reduction in cycle time to deploy new applications and features
• Streamlines integration of data sets, including loss prevention, inventory, and traffic insights
Sensormatic Solutions is a leading brand of retail technology solutions that enable retailers to track inventory, reduce theft, and understand in-store shopping patterns. Sensormatic uses Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to support its growth strategies by integrating its software solutions onto a centralized platform that provides retailers with real-time, actionable insights and predictive analytics to drive operational excellence and help create unique shopper experiences.
Sensormatic Solutions has provided its global customer base with powerful solutions that enable smarter decision making, enhanced operations, and improved profitability. The Sensormatic Solutions software portfolio leverages data gathered from more than 1.5 million Internet of Things (IoT) sensors in 185,000 brick-and-mortar retail stores globally. The sensors annually capture 40 billion shopper visits and track and protect billions of items each year. Sensormatic Solutions' products are deployed in retail stores in 100 countries.
Subramanian Kunchithapatham, Vice President, Engineering, Sensormatic Solutions
Digitization offers retailers the promise of delivering seamless, intelligent, and fulfilling shopper experiences. However, the rise of digitization makes it easier for new competitors to enter the market, putting downward pressure on revenue and profits. In response, retailers need bold, tightly integrated digital and non-digital strategies, which will mean the difference between winning and losing in the retail industry, according to Bjoern Petersen, President at Sensormatic Solutions.
"We believe that our connected, scalable solutions and strategic insights can enable retailers to confidently move into the future, bringing together online, mobile, and in-store shopping for easy, personalized, and enhanced experiences that shoppers love while empowering retailers to achieve operational excellence at scale," says Bjoern.
To take full advantage of future growth potential and help with retail transformation, Sensormatic partnered with Google to deploy and develop solutions on GCP. Strong security, an open-source-friendly cloud platform, highly scalable databases, and expert Customer Reliability Engineering are some of the key factors that led Sensormatic Solutions to select GCP.
"Google is a true partner focused on our success. What stood out was how uniquely prepared Google was to provide both strategic and tactical answers to our requirements — particularly around database technology and machine learning that will really allow us to maximize the value of our large datasets," says Subramanian Kunchithapatham, Vice President, Engineering at Sensormatic Solutions.
A Google Cloud Platform foundation
IoT sensors built by Sensormatic Solutions run the gamut from in-store beacons to Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, and Acousto-Magnetic (AM) hard tags and labels, to video capture devices. The data from the devices is stored in raw formats in Cloud SQL and aggregated in BigQuery. Other GCP services that Sensormatic relies upon include Cloud Dataproc for running Apache Spark and Hadoop clusters; Cloud Dataflow for enriching data in stream and batch modes; BigQuery for Sensormatic's data warehouse; and Cloud Composer, an Apache Airflow workflow orchestration service that Sensormatic uses to, among other things, report on data gathered in-store for its retail customers.
"The combination of GCP solutions significantly reduces the time to capture in-store data, analyze it, and then return actionable insights to retailers," says Subramanian.
Before Sensormatic Solutions moved its infrastructure to Google Cloud Platform, the company leveraged other cloud solutions and on-premises solutions to manage its IoT sensors in the field and collect data from devices.
A service technician was required to install sensors and configure the store's computers to work with them. GCP has decreased the setup time for in-store sensors by extracting away a lot of the lower-level work previously required. As a result, GCP enables the company to spend more time on innovating and refining its software. For example, the fully managed services and ease of administration in GCP have enabled Sensormatic Solutions to dramatically increase its change rate — the number of successful changes made to its software offerings every day – and accelerate delivering new enhancements to market.
Subramanian Kunchithapatham, Vice President, Engineering, Sensormatic Solutions
Continuing to enhance speed to market
Sensormatic is constantly looking to shorten time to market and deliver more secure, adaptive retail environments for shoppers everywhere.
"We'd already become much more agile, thanks to running on a virtualized environment with GCP," says Subramanian. "But we've seen that GCP gives us even greater ease in administration and deployment. In turn, that allows us to be even more agile. With Google Cloud Platform, we can quickly develop software capabilities that will help us take advantage of new market opportunities to speed our time to market. It gives us a forward-looking platform that makes everything easier and faster."
Innovative and more secure solutions
Sensormatic Solutions continues to invest in disruptive technologies, contributing to the evolution of retailers and their brands. It constantly leverages the richness and depth of its data to drive higher responsiveness and more accurate predictions.
To help retailers maximize profitability, Sensormatic Solutions taps into multiple in-store sensor inputs such as video, Wi-Fi, and audio to get traffic, inventory, loss prevention, and other third-party data inputs to provide real-time and prescriptive actions. This requires gaining holistic insights using predictive, edge analytics supported by artificial intelligence and machine learning.
"The amount of data we'll be collecting will grow exponentially," says Amit Patil, Head of Data Strategy and Innovation at Sensormatic Solutions. "Having GCP as a scalable, consistent, reliable infrastructure will help us support that growth. It will also enable us to do more with our existing core offerings, by providing both offline and online insights. Going forward, GCP will allow us to easily integrate third-party data sets, so we can deliver rich, real-time, descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive insights."
As Sensormatic looks to constantly innovate, it is experimenting with TensorFlow, the open-source ML environment originally developed by Google, to help create predictive analytics based on data captured by Sensormatic sensors. As an example, one area of exploration is training ML models via Cloud AutoML to automatically analyze customer sentiment from videos recorded in stores.
The Sensormatic team also believes in innovation with security. "Security is a major concern regardless of industry, and retail is no different," says Subramanian. "Google has extensive experience and expertise in handling global security vulnerabilities. Once we reviewed the offerings available and had our security experts talk to Google's experts, we quickly became strong believers in the strength of GCP. That said, the best approaches to security are broad and require constant vigilance. Our internal team, with their expertise in retail requirements, work hand in hand with the Google team to continually review the architecture from the standpoint of network and software."
Bjoern Petersen, President, Sensormatic Solutions
Helping customers scale
In 2019 and beyond, the Sensormatic Solutions portfolio will continue to evolve and grow, especially with planned expansions across its entire solution suite. The future roadmap is to provide clients with as-a-service solutions that enable scale.
"We want to help our customers in their growth strategy by enabling them to expand and scale in both mature and developing markets in a cost-effective and timely manner. GCP allows us to deliver extremely well on the needs of our global customers," says Bjoern. "We also recognize that our best value for customers is in the combination of data from all of our lines of business – Loss Prevention, Inventory, and Traffic. Google Cloud Platform provides us with the security, flexibility, and speed to deliver holistic and actionable insights while constantly innovating. The pace of improvement offered by Google and its intellectual strength will consistently allow us to be the leader in delivering enterprise-scale retail solutions."