Light has always had the ability to transform spaces, so as the leading lighting manufacturer, we are compelled to help shape the future of illumination. Considering a future state where digital lighting is intelligent and connected has led Acuity Brands to expand from simply illuminating a space to empowering lighting to solve retail customers' challenges in their stores.
Our corporate commitment and vision of Expanding the boundaries of lighting™ means developing advanced lighting and controls products that are foundational to supporting new and connected IoT solutions. One of the ways we do this is by embedding lighting with digital technologies such as controls, networking devices and sensors to form a platform for location-aware service. We call this a sensory network at Acuity Brands, which is powered and present where people shop and work. We also apply our deep experience in lighting manufacturing to bring this technology to scale, opening applicability beyond high-value retail sales floors into warehouses, manufacturing, and healthcare spaces.
How do we imagine this future of lighting? By listening to our customers. Acuity Brands responds to the needs of retail customers who seek to improve the in-store shopping experience. In addition, we are actively engaged in transforming store operations through real time technologies that improve associate efficiency and support ship-from-store and buy online/pickup at store services. Digital transformation is happening in brick and mortar retail with the help of accurate indoor location-awareness powered by Acuity Brands.
Now that lighting goes beyond energy savings provided by LEDs to form an IoT platform, we connect with building management, refrigeration, and other devices to harvest data that informs facility teams where and how to improve operations with the biggest impact. Our innovations provide analytics and insights on sensor data delivered through the lighting network.
At the start of a major renovation, retailers look for the best solutions in design and materials specifications for LED luminaires and lighting controls. Learning more about the Atrius sensory network from Acuity Brands, the conversation quickly moves to the additional capabilities of the platform. The LED luminaires embedded with BLE (Bluetooth® Low Energy) assist visitors with wayfinding and deliver location awareness to tags and monitor assets throughout the building space.
When coupled with low-power sensors, the lighting network can monitor customer foot traffic or alert store associates to items that need to be restocked. These are simple use cases expanding the purpose of lighting: providing a deeper understanding of customers and their in-store shopping experience through rich data insights. At the risk of sounding cliché, these conversations create "lightbulb moments" for the retailer.
According to research firm Forrester, an estimated 27% of global retailers and wholesalers indicate that increasing usage of data insights is a high priority in 2020. However, 38% of those surveyed said, "improving their use of data insights in business decision making will be very or even extremely challenging". This has led Forrester to predict that while "data mastery will be the common thread among retail winners in 2020… few will achieve it"¹ .
Addressing this challenge, Acuity Brands brings experience and leadership to tackle critical insights. Walgreens, Target and other successful retailers with Acuity Brands digitally connected lighting systems installed are now activating additional features and functionality to capture data insights that give their business the information needed to improve customer experience by understanding customer preferences and identifying opportunities for improvement.
In the case of Walgreens, their Acuity lighting network was the first layer of implementation. Through a partnership with Microsoft, connected capabilities such as Atrius® Retail Solutions were implemented to capture data to enhance the customer journey and get Walgreens closer to their vision to improve the overall shopper experience.
By creating solutions for retailers that deliver business insights from the connected lighting network, renovation investments become-technology investments and have the capacity to serve the business well into the future as highlighted in the recent Walgreens News that covers their first year of partnering with Microsoft on the "future of healthcare" initiative.
Leveraging data, many of our customers are learning new insights such as shopper in-store foot traffic patterns and improving loss prevention. By implementing Atrius Retail Solutions, they gain actionable information that significantly impacts their business. Distilling the panoply of harvested data to action is another way we're expanding the purpose of lighting.
Visit the Atrius website to learn how today's networked lighting solutions can help solve business challenges with practical data-driven solutions through Atrius Retail Solutions.
Download the Navigant white paper Closing the Online/Offline Gap for Retail Stores sponsored by Acuity Brands.
¹Fiona Swerdlow, Predictions 2020: Retailers Seek An Edge Amid Uncertainty, Forrester Research