HP announced HP Engage Edge – the world’s first retail product powered by the EdgeX Foundry from LF Edge, hosted by the Linux® Foundation. The product is designed to help ISVs accelerate the deployment of their on-premise, sensor-based solutions developed to improve the business metrics of their Retail and Hospitality customers. Out of the box, HP Engage Edge software supports a sensor-agnostic & cloud-agnostic open framework that facilitates easier data-ingestion for onsite processing. This helps ISVs avoid custom hardware-software integrations and frees them to focus on their core competencies building analytics and insights solutions that can scale. This solution comes with a choice of HP’s world class hardware, purposefully designed for the harsh Retail & Hospitality environments and backed by HP’s warranty & service options.
“From our research, Edge computing at the store/restaurant level is one of the highest growth technology areas in all of retail with 460% growth from 2019-2021. Having an HP product powered by the EdgeX Foundry open framework provides a significant advantage to retailers and restaurants as they look to deploy and maintain maximum flexibility”, said Greg Buzek, President of the IHL Group, a global research and advisory firm for the retail and hospitality industries, “This is the first and only product I’m aware of that is purpose built for retail and powered by the EdgeX Foundry”.
The Retail Transformation
In the past few years, the retail market has gone through a major transformation powered by technology. Like any modern business, collecting and acting on relevant data in real time is critical to effective decision making for business owners. Many Retail & Hospitality business have been deploying sensor-based solutions to solve key business and operational challenges including inventory management, workforce optimization, theft detection and promotion effectiveness. The current global pandemic has only accelerated these investments significantly. According to The State of Edge 2020: A Market and Ecosystem Report for Edge Computing report from the Linux Foundation, over 20% of retail establishments by the top 100 retailers will have implemented digital services that require edge capabilities. According to the same report, the global Infrastructure Edge CAPEX for retail is forecast to reach $6.5 billion by 2028.
The existing, mostly cloud-based solutions in the market today are limited in many ways.
- They are either standalone (focused on 1-2 use cases each with their own data siloes), or they are custom-built & proprietary.
- Many times, within the same retail premises, data is trapped in several different proprietary implementations.
- Since each use case needs its own set of sensors (or data streams), ISVs are forced to custom build their solutions making it harder for them to scale across deployments or share the data streams. This fact also limits the retailers from integrating all the data sources to create meaningful insights.
- Moreover, many retailers are already looking to avoid cloud lock-ins due to costs and connectivity issues. They also want to be in control of the data privacy. Latency of data processing is essential to create real time actionable insights that the store manager or associates can act on in real time.
All these factors demand deployment of Edge solutions.
According to the Gartner report, Exploring the Edge: 12 Frontiers of Edge Computing, by the end of 2023, more than 50% of large enterprises will deploy at least six edge computing use cases deployed for IoT immersive experiences, versus less than 1% in 2019.
Powered by the EdgeX Foundry Open Framework
HP Engage Edge is powered by the Linux Foundation’s EdgeX Foundry. HP joined as a founding member of the LF Edge to facilitate collaboration among industry vendors and partners and to drive more effective solutions in solving common business challenges. The framework has already garnered very quick and wide support among early developers and has over 5 million downloads as of May 2020. HP also went on to collaborate with Intel® and other vendors at NRF2020 in showcasing a proof of technology demo on Theft Detection use case . The demo seamlessly brought together data streams from camera, barcode scanners, weight scale to flag suspicious events that the store managers then can discreetly monitor those to avoid theft before it happens. The open framework indeed sped up the collaboration among partners in building such a complex solution very quickly and easily; and generated tremendous interest and feedback which helped a great deal in building the first EdgeX Foundry based implementations in the retail domain.
Focused on Helping the ISV/Developer Ecosystem in Retail/Hospitality
HP Engage Edge offers a variety of hardware compute options from HP’s world class Retail hardware portfolio. The product utilizes HP’s MP9 system based on 8th Generation Intel® Core™ Desktop Processor Family; Powered by EdgeX Foundry open-framework to help cutting time-to-market development by quickly and seamlessly integrating compatible sensors and cloud engines. HP Engage Edge can power dozens of other use cases like Inventory Management, Shelf replenishment, Loss prevention, Workforce management, Customer Engagement etc. Depending on the problem statement at hand, different sensors can be integrated into the product to assess and manage a variety of business metrics. For example, adding an RFID stream could help manage inventory and in-store tracking. In other cases, cameras can be deployed for computer-vision based analytics for customer engagement.