Day 2 - a bit more structure and we also understand why there was a huge queue to Starbucks yesterday - Intel is giving away a coffee gift card to every survey responder... thats a lot of coffees.
Some exciting meetings today and insights gained.
One of the more interesting conversations was with G-Star and how they are integrating Intel's RfiD readers in their own stores to track stock movements and ensure a near-100% inventory accuracy. Apparently inventory accuracy has improved from 80% to 98%! G-Star use inventory from warehouses and stores to fulfil orders so require a near-perfect inventory image in order to keep their customers happy. The ROI is primarily in not disappointing the customer. We're hoping to publish on this topic in a bit more detail in the near future.
Some notable companies we met today:
Fidzup - This French startup have developed an app-advertising system to track your on/offline visitors. The system works by tracking wifi codes attached to telephone numbers. They have developed a piece of hardware for retailers who do not currently have a public wifi offering. Althought the hardware piece is not central to the service, which is an advertising as a service platform, it forms an interesting part of the overall offering. Now launching in the US from France.
Fellow Robots - This startup provides robots for shelf "out of stock" control and target the main grocers and FMCG retailers. Apparently they are working on a solution for stock depth. The autonomous robots are working in an environment with customers present. We think this product can have many more use cases than fellow believe such as sending images of the shelves to the brand owners for them to analyse if they are in the right location, if the right products are on display, etc.
It is also worth mentioning the Bossa Nova robot (on the Intel stand) which does the same thing.
Everseen is another interesting company. Whatever you may think of attaching KPI's to till assistants this company provide an interesting solution and are also, apparently, working on an Amazon Go type check-out concept trialed in Cork Ireland (with a grocer) for some time.
PTC - the Nasdaq listed company has been very active in M&A to bolster its core product. Some of its acquisitions include Vuforia (an AR firm in the US, previously owned by Qualcomm) for $65m in 2016, ColdLight (a US big data analytics firm) in 2015 $105m, Kepware (IoT) in 2015 for $100-118m. We hope PTC can manage the integration of these businesses to their core product development software. However, the impression we got when presented with the PTC for the first time was a bit of a company trying to be everything to everyone. Our recommendation would be to sit back, analyse what has been acquired and take a deep breath and re-start the explanation bit. The presentation that was made only made sense after having seen read about these acquisitions...
Overall, the general impression we are getting from NRF is that it is a business show for legacy retailers and not so much for online retailers. However, since 80%+ of retail is still conducted on the high-street it is still a valid show. From what we understand, Start-Up exhibitors need to have at least one or two clients. This excludes a whole bunch of interesting companies, but creates an interesting climate where you know all the companies experience traction.
In terms of the speakers we think the quality of the list of speakers is pretty awesome, but that the actual content of the talks leave quite a lot to be improved. Yes, we know that quality of data matters, yes we know that improved data offer improved outcomes and predictions, etc.
On a completely different note: If you want to do business in the US you might want to consider offering a Spanish language site as well. A huge proportion of people speak Spanish as their first language in the US.