Fashion 4.0, No. 15: How Intel is Powering the Future of Retail

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Pictured above: a rendering of the Intel© Experience Incubation Hub, a multiuse venue for innovation and collaboration located next to AREA15. Photo Credit: Design Distill 

To thrive in the digital age, traditional retailers and malls face a reinvent-or-die reality. Last week, we shared that Intel is collaborating with AREA15, one of the first purpose-built experiential retail and entertainment complexes, opening in Las Vegas this April. AREA15 is tackling this issue by offering live events, immersive experiences and activations, and monumental art installations, employing ground-breaking technology and much more for the retail environment.

Why It’s Important: Research shows that 81 percent of Generation Z prefer to shop in stores, and 73 percent like to discover new products in stores. This offers the opportunity to transform how a new generation of consumers chooses to interact with brands. Retailers and brands can’t afford to miss out on engaging this demographic, which is on track to become the largest generation of consumers by 2020 — responsible for $29 billion to $143 billion in direct spending.

The rise of the “experience economy,” fueled by rapid shifts in technology-enabled design and culture, has resulted in the business-critical need to understand customers — not only Gen Z — and use that data to design a real-time personal experience.

Intel NRF Retail's Big Show

“Today, only top retailers can afford to explore and implement experiential design in their stores. We believe immersive, authentically engaging and inspiring experiences in retail are not only possible, but should be accessible for all. Ecosystem collaboration is in Intel’s DNA. AREA15 will help provide scalable, world-class experiential retail solutions for retailers and brands of all sizes.”
–Joe Jensen, Intel V.P. & G.M of Retail, Banking, Hospitality and Education div.

Intel’s Role: The alliance will initially focus on immersive experiential retail design with the launch of the Intel© Experience Incubation Hub, a multiuse venue for innovation and collaboration located next to AREA15. Pictured in the rendering above, the Experience Incubation Hub will allow retail ecosystem partners — from creatives to technologists — to test new design concepts and leading-edge technologies.

The AREA15 property aims to be the gravitational center for the new experience economy, building a flexible platform where Intel innovation will play an integral role. AREA15’s technical and physical infrastructure will be modular, allowing for innovations coming out of the Experience Incubation Hub to be easily tested for proof of concept and scalability — within AREA15 and beyond — in a variety of forms, from pop-ups to short-term engagements to more permanent installations.

“AREA15 is a radical reimagining of retail, where visitors can expect to be authentically engaged and inspired in an otherworldly setting,” said Winston Fisher, CEO of AREA15 and partner in Fisher Brothers. “Experience design cannot be separated from technology — it is essential that the two are intertwined and co-developed. That’s where our collaboration with Intel comes in. Together, we’re raising the standard of experience design, and developing best practices for combining technology, art and commerce in exciting, unexpected ways.”

Variant is proud to be one of the early collaborators and experiences featured in the Experience Incubation Hub, along with Artist TRAV, Papinee, Pressure Point Creative and ThenWhat Inc. A handful of other technology companies were present at Intel's booth during the NRF Retail's Big Show earlier this month, and below we highlight a few of the innovations that caught our eye. 

Intel UST Global CloudPick and RBS at NRF

Using Intel’s cutting-edge computer vision and processors, motion detection, product sensing and recognition, and payment integration with retailer’s mobile application, UST Global, CloudPick and RBS have created a seamless shopping experience, where a customer can pick up items and walk out, paying via mobile device.

Imagine a retail space-as-showroom, where consumers can spend more time experimenting and discovering, where a buying transaction isn't at the forefront. Should someone to choose to make a purchase, technology like this could integrate much more effortlessly and make it a much more organic experience.

Intel The Looking Glass 8K display screen

Utilizing Intel edge computing, The Looking Glass 8K immersive display demonstrates the world’s first large-format 8K holographic display, with no virtual reality or augmented reality headset required. It allows groups of customers to view and interact seamlessly with true 3D.

With 8K poised to be the new wave in high-definition screens, and AR, VR and ER adding new layers onto what consumers can see, this looks beyond exciting. Imagine being able to create a custom garment in 3D, "trying on" an item and seeing yourself from all angles. Combined with the creativity of designers, a viewing experience like this one has the potential to change not only how people show, but how they participate in the creation of those items. We can't wait to see and share more about what the future will bring. 

As always, thanks for reading and please keep following us to learn more about what we're doing to push fashion forward in the new decade. 

With Gratitude,

The Variant Team

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