5G technology is going to reshape key industries worldwide. The retail industry, along with automotive, logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, and entertainment among others, is set to benefit of 5G network deployment.
5G is about 20 times faster than 4G. The faster speed coupled with almost no latency means that the new 5G networks are going to nearly eliminate lag time, making 5G the perfect playground for implementing other emerging technologies to amplify the shopping experience. In 2020, 5G is expected to ramp up globally. Cities in Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Italy, South Korea, China, and Finland have already begun adopting 5G commercial networks.
Some service providers have started trials through specific demos. Last month in London, for instance, service provider Three switched its 5G service on. The 5G service was intended to be used in an immersive experience which used Mixed Reality headsets within a project of English fashion designer Henry Holland, Creative Director of the brand House of Holland. For Henry Holland, 5G is going to change the way people interact with stores and products.
5G to power technologies to improve the in-store experience
In a quest to implement better in-store experiences, retailers around the world are soon going to be able to massively adopt Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) as well as facial and video recognition, tailored in-store signage, and an array of entertaining experiences appealing to the whole family, all powered by 5G networks.
There is no room for those who fear new technologies and are unwilling to embrace change. Retail is a volatile industry and the rapid adoption of technology makes it even more so. The market is quickly becoming populated by a younger demographic of digital natives. Changes in consumer behavior demand retailers to adapt to a better and exciting in-store experience.
According to Nokia, a 5G technologies global leader, "5G will also enable greater control over stock levels and supply chain, improved customer insights thanks to video analytics of customer behavior, and in-store robotics to better handle item movements and placements in the retail environment."
5G architecture for the new digital retailer
The retail market is quickly evolving. 5G connectivity promises faster data transfer speed and low-latency. To keep up with today's changes, businesses must be fast in adapting and adopting strategies that are in sync with the new shifts in technology, demographics, and consumer preferences.
Through 5G, businesses are going to have easier access to cloud technology as well as being able to enable faster development not only of their own business but also of consumer services and experience.
According to Nokia's Elena Waldhuber, "physical stores are becoming customer experience centers to attract omnichannel shoppers. Digital commerce and mobile applications are being fully integrated into retailers' increasingly complex IT platforms. Mobile shopping now comprises more than 50 percent of online transactions."
Lower latency is going to allow retailers to respond to purchasing patterns and behaviors with immersive, tailored content in real-time. Implementing 5G in-store will bring greater interactions and data collections between sales associates and customers.
Collected real-time data could be tracked to create personalized advertisements, tailoring offers to each customer based on their individual preferences. Customers most likely will be more inclined to buy something that is aligned to their taste and preferences and advertised accordingly within their social channels rather than random products.
Nokia-Telia 5G network powers the new Mall of Tripla shopping center in Helsinki
The retail industry has the potential to be one of the big beneficiaries of 5G. - Ari Kynäslahti, Head of Mobile Networks Product Management at Nokia
One of the most recent 5G network deployments in the retail industry has taken place in Helsinki, Finland through a collaboration between Nokia Corporation, the Finnish multinational innovative global leader in 5G, networks, and consumer electronics company and Telia, a Swedish multinational telecommunications company and mobile network operator with presence in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia.
Nokia is powering Telia's 5G network at the new Mall of Tripla shopping center in Pasila, a district in Helsinki, Finland. The Mall of Tripla opened to the public on October 17 as part of the City of Helsinki smart city project.
The 5G network is going to deliver next-generation connectivity for consumers, 250 stores located in the shopping center, businesses, and entrepreneurs. Tripla is an impressive three-block urban shopping and business center which counts with a total floor area of 115,000 square meters of retail space and 50,000 square meters of office space.
The 5G network in Tripla is enabled by Nokia's 5G base stations and small cell technology giving huge capacity, low-latency, and reliable connectivity to all users. Retailers and entrepreneurs will be able to test, develop, and implement novel retail applications as well as lifestyle experiences giving a step forward in the future of retail. This means that retailers and advertisers can now implement emerging technologies such as the ones we have seen in futuristic movies, such as Minority Report, so many times.
5G drives retail into the future of smart cities
According to Ari Kynäslahti, Head of Mobile Networks Product Management at Nokia, the Finnish company sees an increased demand for better connectivity at shopping centers, stadiums, and large events. "The retail industry has the potential to be one of the big beneficiaries of 5G and we are excited to see how customers and businesses benefit from this 5G network at the largest shopping center in the Nordics," he says. Previously, the record of the largest shopping center in the Nordic countries was held by the Mall of Scandinavia in Stockholm, Sweden.
For Janne Koistinen, Director of the 5G program at Telia Finland, "the Mall of Tripla is an excellent example of how to build a modern smart city."
With a 5G network up and running, and ready to power all emerging technologies, it is only a matter of time before retailers begin massive adoption of in-store robots assisting customers, VR and AR, and personalized marketing using facial recognition at the Minority Report style.