Connect with consumers on the floor through digital transformation in retail
Providers of retail services must design products with the consumer experience in mind, combined with complementary services to existing retail infrastructure. According to TimeTrade 2019, 87% of retailers say creating a seamless customer experience across all channels is the most important business goal of their company’s omnichannel strategy. Omnichannel defines the retailers or consumer brands ability to collect consumer data, drive customer loyalty and improve customer retention. To create a seamless customer experience across all channels, retail infrastructure demands a connected environment to provide consistent pricing across channels, personalized offers/communications or cross-channel inventory visibility.
While retailers create strategies and invest in technology to optimize these business processes, one objective is to support and educate store associates as brand professionals freed from automated & repetitive processes, e.g. pricing management or locating products, allowing them to spend time connecting with customers at every opportunity and touchpoint.
Create Smart Shelf with Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL)
ESL is fundamental to reduce pricing errors and provides better price visibility to consumers and store associates. Integrating wireless technology, e.g. proprietary wireless, bluetooth or NFC, enhances the ESL management system with promotional capabilities to drive customer satisfaction. Based on Silicon Labs’ Wireless Gecko Series 2 platform, EFR32FG22 SoCs deliver an industry-leading combination of security features, 2.4 GHz wireless performance, energy efficiency and software tools and stacks to enable a new generation of ESL and pricing automation products.
ESL management systems require bi-directional responsive systems, long battery life, indoor mapping and navigation systems. An ESL consist of three main parts:
- E-paper display
- Wireless MCU for remote, flexible and scalable pricing management
Since the first ESL installation, industry leaders have deployed pricing management systems with more than 400Mu ESLs, integrating proprietary solutions over industrial communication standards. Retailers demand compatibility to existing infrastructure, requiring adaptation of new deployments to the installed base. Our Radio Configurator is the main feature that all proprietary wireless radio engineers use to configure and optimize the product’s radio performance. It comes with predefined PHY settings for most common world regions and allows updating and modifying the existing predefined configurations to generate custom PHY settings to fit better the proprietary application. Some settings that can be modified are frequency bands, channel spacing, modulation type, bit rate, symbol maps, timing detection etc. The benefit of the Radio Configurator is it provides a “human readable” graphical user interface that allows modifying radio configurations at compile time and generate optimized PHY settings for customer’s specific designs, without the need to learn complex low-level registers, thus reducing the time to market.
Battery life is a key challenge to an ESL application. Requirements to the wireless MCU drives innovation to achieve best-in-class power consumption while offering high sensitivity for better RF range. ESL use cases require real-time communication when store associates must correct pricing on the spot. Our RFSENSE feature extends battery life and enable autonomous RF system wake-up. RFSENSE works in all EFR32 energy modes down to EM4 (< 140 nA), continuously monitors the spectrum for RF signals and the radio transceiver will be enabled only when required, contributing to overall low energy consumption.
With EFR32FG22, we optimize the RFSENSE feature with customer-configurable On-Off Keying packet to prevent false detections from interferers and allow for selective wake-up of certain devices.