Japan’s GMO Cloud makes digital-tag even smarter with Mbed

Partner profile

Since 1996, GMO Cloud K.K. has built a proven track record as a hosting service provider by operating servers for more than 130,000 enterprise customers. In 2007, they launched an electronic authentication service “GlobalSign” worldwide, primarily through the consolidated company GMO GlobalSign K.K., from locations in Belgium, UK, US, China, Singapore, Philippines, India, and Russia. They became an Arm Mbed Cloud partner in October 2017.

GMO Cloud’s "IoT Navi by GMO" provides one-stop IoT business support to enterprise customers. Their comprehensive service supports enterprises in solving and transforming their business challenges toIoT opportunities. From business concept to final product / service release, their IoT consultants act as clients’ one-stop helpdesk assisting their business as they evolve with IoT.

Market opportunity

GMO Cloud’s portfolio consists of a plethora of applications for a variety of industries and verticals. For the retail sector, they have prepared a smart digital tag solution. The retail industry is promoting initiatives such as omni-channelization and digital marketing to cope with the spread of electric commerce and changes in behaviour of consumers in the digital era. Bookstores are no exception.

Purchasing in stores is decreasing due to penetration of online sales and popularity of e-books, and at present it is difficult to attract consumers at traditional book stores.To h an Corporation, a major book sales agency, launched an initiative to seek a solution to increase book sales thru in-store customers using the latest IT technologies. They have chosen “IoT Navi by GMO" smart digital tag solution for the project.

Retail stores in Japan have already started to utilize digital retail tags and digitized Point of Purchase (POP) display solutions. However, these are locked in to exclusive devices, which makes changing the content information very difficult. Requiring a separate sensor to gather consumer demographics and action raises the hurdle for deployment as well.

Why Mbed?

Arm Mbed enables GMO Cloud’s smart tag solution to be securely managed in the scale of millions, which is a vital component integral to their solution. Mbed’s scalable architecture enables them to provide flexible installation services for customer needs that can scale throughout the nationwide retail chain.

For the bookstore application, GMO GlobalSign’s certificate authority (CA) certificates are utilized for encryption, and using Arm Mbed OS enabled microcontrollers and modules, they can securely change the smart tags display information using a web browser via the Internet. This reduces maintenance steps and cost when replacing the faulty devices, improving overall store operation efficiencies and performance.

In addition, GMO connected multiple Time of Flight (ToF) sensors to the smart tag module so that the customer’s book “pickup action” and sojourn time in front of the display can be quantified and collected as data.

Solution and results

Tohan is currently implementing the next generation electronic POP display in their experimental phase, using GMO’s digital tag at the Yaesu Book Center head office, located at the Yaesu exit of Tokyo station. This electronic POP display is installed in several places in the store, and the display contents are dynamically switched and displayed.

GMO uses this system to change display contents of electronic tags every day and appeal to visitors, and as a result, book sales have increased 20 times over since implementation.

In addition, Tohan plans to analyze the data from the POP to determine which section in a store has more people and which products are being picked up in order to facilitate more effective marketing.

"The Arm Mbed IoT Device Platform is a solution that can safely manage millions of IoT devices, not limited to retail but also applies to other IoT Navi by GMO service verticals, such as housing / building, energy supply, agriculture, and other applications in a wide range of markets.” –GMO Cloud

Future plans

GMO Cloud is currently deploying the first experimental version of their system and they plan to transition to mass production as the number of projects increases. The company says it has received inquiries from a variety of use cases across multiple industries, such as price tags at convenience stores and supermarkets, and inventory control at factories.

For more information

Please contact IoT Asia Marketing from here.

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