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7 Posts authored by: Intel_Michelle

As retailers gear up for this upcoming Holiday sales period- the biggest question is:  How will they address the perpetual challenge of inventory distortion?  Inventory distortion is defined as: the cost of out-of-stock merchandise plus lost sales, combined with the losses resulting from overstocks that retailers must discount deeply in order to sell.  The annual cost to retailers is estimated at $818 billion, and it’s predicted to increase by $50 billion each year . This distortion is comprised of both out of stock inventory and over stocked inventory. Some of the biggest challenges retailers will face when grappling with the inventory distortion problem are:

·         - Lack of accurate, up to the minute insight to what’s on store shelves

·        - Siloed sales channels between online and in store inventory

·        - Trouble managing inventory between the supply chain, the warehouse, the back room, and the store

 

Intel hopes to use its technologies to work with retailers to address these challenges..  Drilling down on the “out of stock” side of the problem, the leading causes are due to “empty shelf” – 50% of the time, “Customer unable to find item on floor” – 25% of the time, “promotional price/availability” mismatch - 25% of the time.  There are a few ways these problems can be addressed.  A recent article quoted Dr. Bill Hardgrave of Auburn University who estimated that most retailers have an inventory accuracy of 50-60% at any given point in time.  So, in order to run their businesses better, retailers must improve this accuracy rate.

First let’s focus on the empty shelf.  This is when the current product is sold out.  The brand may be paying for the shelf space, and yet the customer must either buy a substitute, or go to a different location to get the item.  This accounts today for $100Bs in lost revenue for retailers and brands.  Some possible solutions may be shelf scanning technologies that provide more regular updates on product status.  Others suggest that RFID technologies on each sales item will be the solution.  I think that multiple solutions will be employed for success as no single technology spans the variety of products and formats present in retail.  For instance can camera technologies bring better visibility of what is on the shelf and how close an item is to stock out?  With the deployment of RFID technologies many retailers are increasing the accuracy and real time stocking levels of all items.  The key will be for retailers to not just deploy technologies but also reinvent business processes so that the workers can harness the power of this real time information and use it to act on it.  The reality is this challenge is tangible and the possibility for innovation on this aspect of inventory distortion is palpable.

The second area of focus is the customer’s inability to find an item on the floor.  We have all been there- wanted a specific size and color of an item and even though the sales person shows three items in stock and neither you nor the associate can find them.  Are they in a dressing room?  On hold? Or just put back in a wrong location?  This is again where shelf scanning technologies and RFID technologies can play a part in the future.  Way finding kiosks need to be able to update real time with location information and can interact with a consumer smart phone device to not only “tell” you where an item is on the floor, but interact via NFC tap to share a map of the store shelves on the device to guide you to the location within the store so you find the item quickly.  Imagine the sales associate being armed with a portal on a mobile table or smartphone device that can show them real time inventory location! 

The third area is also rife with opportunity.  When product availability or price is miss-matched the customer may be expecting a coupon/discount that is offered but it is not available immediately.  Consumers are then faced with the choice of either buying a substitute, or waiting for the right item to come into stock.  Most retailers now offer “rain checks” but the process to manage these is cumbersome and certainly doesn’t leave the customer feeling delighted.  It would be very powerful for retailers to have tools that can market what is in stock and shift a promotion to match current availability- therefore meeting the customer’s needs while also reducing inventory and eliminating a postponed fulfillment process.  One reason for a system to shelf mismatch is due to theft.  There are many technologies in deployment to harness the power of digital security surveillance video streams with the inventory information at the POS to highlight possible theft before it occurs.  Many retailers are also moving to integrate their inventory visibility across their online and in store systems so that if the offer is not available in store they can ship it to the customer directly. 

As Intel works with the industry to decrease the impact of inventory distortion, many new technologies will be implemented.  What will be key in this transition is also the redesign of business processes so that the technology solutions “stick” and truly increase the return on investment to the retailer.  Intel knows that such a large problem will not be tackled by any singular company, but will create opportunity for many ecosystem partners.  Intel is willing to partner with the ecosystem to not only deploy new technologies, but also engage with retailers on business process design so that implementations capture the intended ROI.  I would love to read an article in the future about how world class retailers operate on inventory distortion that is in the fractions of what we see today. It would be great to hear your thoughts and opinions on the topic, feel free to comment below!

The Vending industry is at an inflection point that will usher in a new era of vending- “Intelligent Vending”.  We all have stories from our past- those bad moments when your plans were dashed by a vending machine either eating your money, dispensing the wrong product, or being sold out of what you desperately wanted.  Now with technology to make these machines smart your expectations of that vending experience should be increased.  Arguably, the vending industry is about to cross a chasm, from where vending machine technology has sometimes been considered as out-dated or not relevant within todays digital world, to a world of intelligent vending machines, let’s take a closer look.

What is an Intelligent Vending Machine?  The key elements are that the platform should have a touch screen interface, multiple modes to transact (ex NFC, cash, credit card), security for the transaction, always connected with seamless networking,  remote management and inventory control, and lastly a compelling user interface that is intuitive.  To be cost effective this solution should embrace open industry standards.  This VIDEO portrays how this new platform will reinvent the way vending is done today.

The consumer will benefit from having a machine that can display more information about the products and enable multiple ways to transact with the device.  Trends like gameification with the machine, new user interfaces like touch and gesture will make the purchase decision much more engaging.  By enabling the owner/brand to seamlessly manage the inventory levels and keep the machine in working order the hassles of the past should become a distant memory.  In todays world of vending, driving vending operators revenue potential is key to the viability of the vending industry. In support of this, the flexibile and centrally managed software of intelligent vending machines enabled by Intel Architecture can facilitate the introduction of new efficiencies such as dynamic route planning and the introduction of new innovative revenue steams. One such revenue steam is that of advertising.   Advertisers will benefit from being able to dynamically advertise product at the point of purchase and then have data on what the consumer selected- linking the advertising spend to purchase behavior.

The most exciting aspect of this transition is that the ecosystem is ready today with production ready systems as well as UPGRADES to existing vending platforms.  For example, with the simple change of the mechanical door on the front a legacy machine can become intelligent.  By 2016 industry reports predict that new vending machine shipments will top 2MU per year- that is a 49% Compounded Annual Growth Rate for intelligent vending machines!

Even more interesting is market forces that will spur this technology transition: such as NFC, governmental regulations requiring food content marketing, and scalability of technology ingredients like digital signage platforms.    Imagine the new business models that will be available as these systems become intelligent: Ad funded networks, flexible pricing, multi-vending, linking to vouchers, loyalty programs, interaction with social media platforms and more.

To summarize – the vending industry is at an inflection point that will enable a win-win solution for consumers as well as brands/vendors.  They key will be moving to industry standard platforms and employing technologies that link to consumer usage models.  I’m ready to enjoy the benefits of intelligent vending…. Are you?

January 12th I headed off to Las Vegas to participate in my first CES show.  It was certainly an amazing experience – the show floor was bigger than any conference I had ever seen.  I presented a mini-keynote on the future of retailing at MommyTech .  I highlighted the huge opportunity that is present in the next few years as the virtual world of the internet is melded with physical presence of stores.  Intel’s vision of the Connected Store of the future will integrate the personal data from your mobile device with platforms at the retailer that are intelligent, connected and secure so that you have an endless assortment of inventory to choose from.  Retailers will see better margins as they are more likely to meet pure demand signals and lower costs through accurate inventory management.  The exciting thing is the technologies are here today to make this a reality.

The next day I flew on to New York City for the 101st Annual National Retail Federation show.  I was honored to attend the Retail “ROI” super Saturday event that pulls the industry together to help 143M orphans globally.  The show on Monday and Tuesday of that week was action packed and the Intel booth was certainly a “must see” as part of the show.  Some key trends I saw in demos at the event:

HSN wall.jpg(In front of the HSN wall with HSN CEO, Mindy Grossman)

  • Gamification - This is making the user experience more enriching by having the consumer play a game as they go through the purchase process.  We had two examples in the Intel booth- playing a Cadbury Egg slingshot game as part of the Kraft DijiTaste platform, or making your own pizza with Wolfgang Puck and all his Pizza gadgets as part of our HSN experience wall.
  • Security- Top of mind with retailers after a weekend hack of Zappos.com was how do they maintain vigilant security measures amidst changing technology.  We highlighted in our booth our alliance with McAfee and the ability to “build-in” a secure layer below the operating system on platforms.
  • Customization- Whether it was the Cisco “Magic Mirror”, the “FaceCake” demo in the Microsoft booth, or using Intel AIM Suite to determine age range or gender – Retailers are looking for ways to better meet the specific needs of the customers they service.  Intel has done years of ethnographic work in this space to try to anticipate what trends will materialize and when. 

Lastly- it was refreshing to see so many partner organizations continuing to innovate around the Intel processor.  Whether it was the new scanning tunnel from WinCor Nixdorf, or the Universal Bill Acceptor in NCR ATMs, self-service checkout from HP or amazing displays from NEC it is always fun for me to see the innovation that is enabled by our humble silicon!

I look forward to the next year and seeing what innovation is now spurred based on the interactions at CES and NRF !

booth tour.jpg

(giving a booth tour to a member of the press)

Thanks

Michelle

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the World Retail Congress in Berlin.  The event is sponsored by Oracle and they did a fantastic job of bringing together leaders in the retail industry as well as companies that bring technology leadership to the Retail industry.

 

Hands down, my favorite experience was being a judge for the “Future of Retailing” Student Case competition.  In all, 21 students from 6 countries competed for the top award.  Their challenge was to bring a local country brand to the KaDeWe department store in Berlin.  The range of ideas spanned from hats, designer fingernails, dolls, Ferraris, and couture clothing.  All of the proposals were well thought through and the team from Hong Kong took home the top prize.  2011-winners.jpg

The students all did a pretty good job of highlighting how many different modes of technology can be utilized to present an “Omni Channel” experience to the shopper.  It certainly inspired me to see such young, creative minds working on this challenge and made me think about where they may be and what they will be doing in the next 10-20 years as they grow their leadership skills and bring that new mindset to the retail industry.

 

My favorite demonstration of technology was a digital sign for grocer’s freezer doors from Stratacache, shown above.  While the design is simple and “just works” there is actually a lot of complex system integration that goes on to make this work so well.  Needless to say, the retailers who were there were truly excited by the possibility of making the freezer section more exciting.

 

The awards ceremony and dinner black tie event was well organized and quite a treat.  We were entertained by ballet dancers doing a “Black Swan” routine and then interlaced with some samples of next year’s clothing line from Mango (all black and white outfits!)  I presented out the Award for the most Innovative Advertising campaign – congratulations to Walgreens for their immunization campaign!  It was also fun to see Adidas win the “Innovation in Retailing” award for their Footwear Wall powered by Intel.

 

It certainly was a worthwhile experience for me to attend.  I know the WRC organizers are putting some content on the web for folks to see after the event- check it out here!

 

I look forward to the next big Retail show- NRF 2012!!

It’s that time of year when most of us take at least a little time away from the office to get out on summer vacations.  Travel to the beach, mountains, to see family or friends is always a great way to unplug and not think about work.  However, this year I found myself noticing embedded IA everywhere I went.

Our first mini vacation was to Disneyland where I was amazed by the use of technology all over the park.  I had not visited the park in 20 years, so it had changed considerably.  The old standby rides were still there (Matterhorn, Space Mountain) – but now the fast pass kiosk enables you to skip the lines by taking a ticket good for admission at a time in the future.  Best yet- I was able to download an application to my phone and “see” virtually what the wait times were for all the rides in both the Disneyland Park and the California Adventure Park.  In addition the app would tell you what time the fast pass return ticket would be good for.  Now I know this saved my feet a lot of mileage running around the parks only to wait (and hear my son complain ;O) .  My favorite demonstration of embedded technology was the sound and light show, “World of Color” at the California Adventure park.  We loved the show that is a computer animated synchronized light show to music.  The computers actually program streams of water into different formations and then shine colorful lights on them to tell a story.  It is amazing, unique and a must see.WOC.jpg

Disneyland was not the only example of embedded technology.  We just returned from a house boating trip to Lake Powell, Arizona.  On the boat there were many new upgrades- including a new depth finder/back up camera for the boat.  This is very handy when the boat you are driving is 50+ feet long and doesn’t have responsive steering.  Needless to say the point of this vacation was to “unplug” so not as many embedded examples- but I was happy to see that the marina had opened a new facility to register boats that had brand new client terminals.

Now that we’re back in town we went to the mall last Saturday and experienced two new embedded devices.  The first was letting my son play with the “Digital Box” kiosk at the Lego store.  He was amazed how the toy sprung to life in his hands as he held up the box to the kiosk.  Needless to say I’m going to be investing in new legos for his Birthday.   Then I went to Nordstrom to experience their Anniversary sale.  Their sales personnel were using new hand held devices to answer customer questions.  They would then take you to the POS terminal to make the sale and noted it would be a lot better if they could not only answer questions with the device, but also transact on the device.

 

I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting usage models, so: What new/creative uses for embedded technology you have seen this summer? Please post your findings in the comments below…

Road Trip: IDF Beijing

Posted by Intel_Michelle Apr 25, 2011

What an amazing, whirlwind week!  I just spent a week in Asia- between IDF 2011 Beijing and visiting the Embedded & Communications Group (ECG) team in Penang, Malaysia.  Spring has certainly sprung and it was exciting to meet so many customers and industry fellow travelers in Beijing.  This was my first IDF show- and I’ll have to say it was well done!  The keynotes were engaging with multiple demonstrations in each one.  The Oak Trail announcement certainly showed me how Intel is ready to ship competitive product into the tablet market and what was even better was seeing the final products from partner companies ready to use with graphical interfaces and stylish form factors.

ChineseTablet.png

It made me proud to see these offerings and made me think about how embedded customers may use this product for tablet form factors in our markets.  I know the mobile point of sale platforms would love to have a long battery life product with Windows running as a way to enable sales personnel to ring up transactions anywhere in the store.   This was just one way I thought our segments might benefit.  The key now is to see what the developer community and our customers do with the product- as Doug Davis’s IDF 2010 keynote highlighted- “Oh the places Atom will go….”

 

I was then on the move to Penang.  I had a “cultural experience” when my luggage was lost en route and I had to do some emergency shopping to be ready for work the next morning.  Yes - it was a rookie mistake, I’ll always either keep my bag w/me or keep at least 1 outfit.  Anyway, I did manage to find a decent work outfit in my size and all the cosmetics/sundries to make me presentable.  The cultural learning was Asian mascara is clear - that is not something I would have guessed… In the office my team walked me through multiple demos of the exciting platforms and SW we are enabling.  It really inspired me to see the innovation that is at hand and the close collaboration the team has across Penang, Taiwan and China.  I can speak in even more depth about each part of the organization and what challenges and opportunities await in 2011.  By Friday night it was time to say goodbye, and thank you to my hosts.  On my way now to return to Phoenix- in 4 flights and 29 hours I’ll be home!

Projector team.JPG

Intel Malaysia projector team holding the small form factor adaptor module- converts any projector to a WiFi/WiDi accessible projector.

Introduction

Posted by Intel_Michelle Apr 21, 2011

So, like any good social engagement, I thought that, before I start blogging regularly, I should probably spend a little time & introduce myself. Obviously my name is Michelle Tinsley and I’ve been with Intel almost 19 years, but all of it in Finance so not a very externally visible role.  I joined the embedded group back in 2003 and fell in love.  In February I took on the role as General Manager for the Embedded Computing Division (ECD).  While sounds a lot like “JAIA” (Just Another Intel Acronym), there are some very tangible activities upon which my folks are focused.

 

For example, one really hot topic we’ve got going on is “Digital Signage” which is basically the use of a large display that at the very least creates a more engaging experience for the consumer and, ideally, is actually an interactive experience that not only inform the user more, but also help the retailer who is displaying the sign. Here’s a video that gives you a great example of what I’m talking about:

We also have other key segments we are working on, like Digital Fitness, Digital Healthcare, and other places where the energy-efficient performance of Intel’s Desktop & Laptop-oriented processors can make a significant improvement to embedded applications.

 

And this is why I love where I work. The embedded group is so much fun as there are endless possibilities for where our product can go.  As the world and things become more connected there is a natural fit for Intel products to make those “things” intelligent.  We should be expecting more from our appliances, systems and computing devices that we interact with.  My “job 1” is now to lead our division in solving our customers and end users problems by formulating Intel based solutions.  This means I get to hear straight from the customers what would make their products more compelling, productive, and immersive experiences so that their product makes our lives better.  What I love most is hearing the specific examples of how these products make a difference.

 

On a personal side, I’ve been in Arizona for over  a decade now but I went school at the University of Oregon and got my degree in Finance & Marketing. I also got an MBA from ASU right here in sunny Arizona. I love spending time with my family in the valley of the sun, working out whenever I get the chance, and have an affinity for a really great glass of red wine.

 

So, that’s a bit about me, maybe you can now share with me? Maybe you can post some of the “cool” places you have seen embedded IA? How do you feel these products make a difference?  Or, do you know of a place where a little more "intelligence" could improve the User Experience so we should try to get Embedded Intel Processor in there to help?  Let me know - I’m all ears  :-)

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