Indoor Location Technology: Evolving Beyond Brick & Mortar

November 13, 2018

It’s no secret that legacy companies across the globe are reinventing the way they do business to stay relevant to customers. One could argue that reinvention is easier for newer businesses that have been created in a digitally-enabled sandbox. A debatable stance as arguably the truest test of a brand is scale, and performance at scale.

Companies like Brooks Brothers, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s and Bloomingdales, which have been around since the 1800’s, are not new to reinvention as they currently employ omnichannel strategies to reach customers. However, it can’t end there. When you have over 500 locations operating over 100+ years, it requires strategies and technologies that can dependably scale across an enterprise. And, just maybe repurposing that sandbox ...

The relationship between virtual and physical forms of Interaction

Old infrastructure hasn’t stopped companies from reinventing the way they do business. A case in point, brick and mortar businesses have long been moving to an omni-channel experience driven by customers who have had positive experiences online through delivery and recently the upward trend in BOPIS services. Virtual and physical environments blend in today’s retail environment, blurring the line between store and online. With this in mind, the physical building can be enhanced with modern technologies to blend with the time-trusted qualities of a legacy brand.

To the customer, your brand is the same wherever they interact with it. Doing business today means meeting and exceeding those interaction opportunities by leveraging technology.

Understanding the movement of assets and how it is changing the retail world

This brings us to the next frontier for retail, the future model of the retail store. 

With recent advancements in digital technologies, the store transcends a simple retail center by enhancing the customer and occupant experience. Retailers are employing advanced technologies for wayfinding and asset tracking. They are analyzing this newfound data to drive understanding of the movement of equipment and personnel from location-based solutions to improve processes, operations and experiences.

Market dynamics point to continued movement to the ship-from-store model. Would the retail store benefit from the efficiencies of having more inventory nearby? Would the retail business benefit from improved processes throughout their logistics chains? Intuition and even better, research, points to yes. After a disaster, people will move their homes and families for improved access to goods and services. Because better access to goods and services equals improved quality of life.

A quote from 2009 predicted the importance of location-based solution for indoor spaces – where we are today.

“Understanding how the rapidly evolving forms of virtual interaction reflect and alter the organization and movement of people, goods, and ideas in geographical space will require detailed, geospatially referenced information at the levels of the person, household and firm. One promising avenue is the use of data from cell phones equipped with GPS units; such data have proved effective in measuring the spatial dimensions and intensity of social interactions” (Eagle et. Al, 2009).

How close can we move the warehouse to the brick and mortar location? Can it be included within it to leverage the full technological capabilities and service expectations of digitally-enabled customers?


Curren Shorte

Senior Manager IoT Product Management

Acuity Brands Technology Group at Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc. 

Curren developed deep domain expertise in engineering, development and strategic positioning of IT-OT solutions from his service in the Navy as well as in business development at GE Power over the past 10+ years. His current focus in the technology group is to drive development, productization and positioning of AtriusTM Assets and AtriusTM LiveView products, which leverage Acuity Brands' Atrius Sensory Network to create value by uncovering business insights.

And, as a Naval Officer, Curren refined his technical acumen, strengthened his strategic thought processes, and developed an innovative mindset. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering from the United States Naval Academy; a Master of Science equivalent in Nuclear Engineering from the US Department of Energy; a Master of Engineering Management from Old Dominion University; and a Master of Business Administration from Scheller College of Business at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

In his spare time, Curren enjoys relaxing with his wife and dog. He stays active by participating in sports leagues, advocating for military veterans and providing youth mentorship.


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