We recently had the chance to speak with Kevin Kim, Vice President of Rainus America, a South Korean-based company focused on elevating the retail experience using digital technology. The company’s smart retail solutions allow retailers to update their prices in real time, maximizing retailers’ efficiency and simplifying customers’ shopping experiences with personalized and convenient digital solutions. Customers can also engage with Rainus’ touch display technology in-store. In the interview below, Kevin shares insight on the company’s products and where he anticipates growth for Rainus and the industry in the coming years.
How long has Rainus been on the market?
Rainus was founded in Seong-Nam, South Korea in 2014. We are one of the fastest-growing companies in the world, specializing in electronic shelf label (ESL) technology. Seong-Nam is about five miles south of Seoul, in an area referred to as the “Silicon Valley of Korea.” We set up our first international office in Switzerland, Europe, in 2015 and opened the second one in Tokyo, Japan due to our international business growth. The third one will be in the United States and will open in October of 2020.
Tell us about your products
One of our primary products is InforTab, which is our e-paper display product line. InforTab is a full graphic label based on customized wireless technology and brings huge benefits to retailers such as price automation, store efficiency, accurate pricing, operation cost savings, and additional functions like dynamic pricing. Another product line of ours is called InforTab+ & InforTab+ Touch, a bar-type display suitable for the digital shelf. InforTab+ & InforTab+ Touch can take today's retail store to the next level. This technology can deliver not only price information, but also advertisements via diverse multimedia formats and has a touch display functionality, enabling interaction with shoppers for more customer engagement. InforTab+ & InforTab+ Touch will eventually function as the real-time interaction between the customer and retailer via touch, visuals, and voice, and we have a clear roadmap for making this happen.
We offer a single platform that connects all our product lines. InforTab, InforTab+, and InforTab+ Touch are IoT devices and work with our access points for data transmission. Information to be displayed is fed to the InforTab platform from the customer's legacy system, then transmitted to the Rainus devices whenever necessary. Our network system is very secure, accurate, and robust, ensuring fast data transmission and the widest coverage possible for big organizations.
Most of our customers are grocery retailers, though we are seeing growing demand across other sectors, such as drug stores, health and beauty, and consumer electronics. The common issue retailers are currently encountering is a store inefficiency. Price changes for all products in a store take at least a couple of days with a conventional method. Also, a price mismatch between the Point of Sale system and a paper label is another pain-point for retailers. With InforTab, prices of products can be automatically changed in real-time, which brings operational excellency to stores. The ESL providers are trying to improve it’s the technology’s accuracy and robustness. At Rainus, our core technology uses a concentric network system with a minimum infrastructure cost and a maximum number of ESLs, providing the highest level of accuracy and robustness within the industry.
How do your products differ from others on the market?
We take a lot of pride in the high performance of InforTab's advanced architecture. This capability sets us apart from others in the market. Recent benchmarks with potential customers in Japan continue to prove our leadership in performance. For example, after several rounds of an intense performance test, a leading electronics retailer selected us as a sole ESL provider, where we then successfully deployed 200,000 ESLs in a single store, which is record-breaking in our industry. At this time, no other company can support this many ESLs with the lowest server specification.
From a shopper's perspective, they can see the right price and information at the right time. Near Field Communications (NFC) embedded InforTab gives an enhanced customer experience by allowing them to use their mobile phones. Tapping phones on InforTab can link shoppers to product details or reviews on their own phones.
Why did you decide to use Silicon Labs?
Silicon Labs has cutting-edge technology and is known as a leader within the industry. We are currently using the Silicon Labs FG22 Series 2 Wireless 2.4 GHz SoC. We are very happy with the performance capabilities of the wireless solution and the excellent Silicon Labs technical support we have received throughout our product design life cycle.
How do you see your company evolving in the next 5 years?
Our company initially started out focused on ESL, and there is no question our ESL solution is our primary business. As demands grow in other sectors along with retail, we expect to see more opportunities to integrate smart retail technologies. We have a lot of R&D and partnership activities underway as we see the growth potential for a transition to a broader IoT business. Many people are talking about digital transformation, yet we are seeing huge changes in retail right now. Smart retail technology will play a much greater role in people’s shopping experiences in the future. Many consumers and businesses have yet to imagine the new conveniences and operational gains to be experienced by digitalization. Rainus is excited to be involved in such a rapidly changing industry and we see smart retail technologies evolving into all types of retail environments in the future.
To learn more about how our FG22 Series 2 SoC optimizes retail ESL technology, check out our Rainus case study.