Deploying scalable and affordable enterprise-grade IoT applications in the retail industry has previously been restricted by technology limitations. But digital retail solutions leader Hanshow has now developed a SaaS solution that accelerates this digital transformation by connecting store shelves to retailers, store operators, and customers on an unprecedented scale by managing more than 10 million IoT devices across a vast network of Ahold Delhaize stores in Europe.
Ahold Delhaize and Hanshow began partnering in 2018 to install electronic shelf labels (ESL) and other digital solutions at select stores in Europe. This later expanded to cover hundreds of stores across Europe and over 10 million ESL – a tremendous number of devices to sync and manage.
ESLs are the building blocks of retail digitization, and effective solutions for connecting them are crucial to maximize efficiency and open up new digital solution possibilities. However, the ability to remotely manage tens of millions of ESL across hundreds of stores through one cloud-based network had not yet been possible until Hanshow partnered with Microsoft to develop a SaaS solution that can handle this massive amount of integration.
Adopting solutions through cloud services and IoT technology is rapidly growing in retail. Global research firm Gartner estimates, “Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 18.4% in 2021 to total $304.9 billion, up from $257.5 billion in 2020”.* It further adds, “Although software as a service (SaaS) remains the largest market segment and is forecast to grow to $117.7 billion in 2021, application infrastructure services (PaaS) is anticipated to grow by a higher margin at 26.6%” *
The benefits of adopting such services are apparent through this partnership. The Hanshow SaaS solution addresses several challenges for retailers such as staffing surges during peak times, labor costs, space constraints, and overall productivity.
Under previous scenarios, retailers have to install and operate their own system of servers and infrastructure on-premise requiring massive investment, untold time to set up, and significant input from IT professionals.
The Hanshow SaaS Solution provides global retailers an intelligent, easy-to-deploy, user-friendly, and analytics-driven platform. Hanshow SaaS is ready on arrival and can be accessed instantly anytime, anywhere. Data can be shared across geographies while remote monitoring and updates become a seamless exercise. Price updates and other ESL or digital solution updates can be done at a breakneck pace; 3 million ESL can be updated in just 80 min. And with a focus on the heightened security needed from a cloud-based network, Hanshow carried out third-party security testing through a leading global security firm to certify data safety of the Microsoft Azure-backed Hanshow SaaS.
“This scale and advancement in retail technology were made possible through the safety, stability, scalability, and speed of Microsoft SaaS with Hanshow’s innovative management software,” said Raj Raguneethan, regional leader, Retail & Consumer Goods at Microsoft Asia. “With this work, we’re seeing only the beginning of what’s possible with IoT and SaaS.”
While over 10 million ESL have already integrated into the Hanshow SaaS, it can handle much more if necessary. “By integrating retail digitization with SaaS, the possibilities are endless,” said Hanshow Executive Chairman and CEO Shiguo Hou. “This is the future. We’re committed to bringing these benefits to customers and retailers on an even grander scale.”