In front of some 150 invited guests, Jan van Dellen, alderman Economic Affairs for the city of Arnhem, opened the Future Store Arnhem this past Friday, June 14th. The province of Gelderland, Oost NL, the city of Arnhem, as well as educational institutes and the business community have all supported this innovative ‘triple helix’ project.
The possibility for customers to order a cup of coffee using a digital device while sitting in a sidewalk cafe is accepted as normal these days. But the European shopping system isn’t nearly as far along, especially in comparison with, for example, China. In that country the possibility to do all one’s shopping digitally is completely normal, with online and offline being wholly merged. The center of this experience being the smartphone.
In Arnhem, it was demonstrated how the modern retailer can implement digital innovations. Weather-dependent dynamic pricing, in-store video beaming and screens that activate as a product is picked from the shelf, automatic measurement conversion of a product while in the fitting room, ‘endless aisle’ and some forty other innovations. And all of it directed from a single system.
Education, government and business community
In workshops and roundtable discussions it was possible for the three parties of government, education and business to be able to experience, in a real-time environment, the dynamic of technological development and business model changes happening in commerce and retail.
The goal is to have each of these three parties to enable the necessary changes in the other two parties’ areas of responsibility. For example, how do we implement innovations to attract consumers to the inner cities? Are educational institutes delivering the knowledge of new technologies that today’s students need to know? Is the business community working to improve its efficiency?
Oost NL sees many societal challenges in this project. By using the latest technologies and innovations, students, business people and government employees enlarge their field of knowledge. For the student, this means an improved chance at finding relevant employment after graduation. For the business person, it can be a tool to be used to fix inner-city deterioration. For the government, these new technologies and innovations create a showcase for foreign delegations, as well as the chance to profit from CO2 reduction by optimizing inner-city transport through the application of smart technology. The end result: the economy of the province of Gelderland is getting a boost.