STOCKHOLM, Aug. 17, 2021
Swedish technology company OmboriGrid AB (publ) has launched the Ombori Grid Marketplace. Highlighting the impact of the marketplace addition on elevating the retail industry, Ombori Grid held a livestream launch event on July 7th, at 11:00am EST.
Ombori Grid's targeted programs enable differently sized businesses to elevate customer experiences and streamline their operations through easy installation of their no-code applications. Ombori's "prebuilt playbooks" are the first of their kind to hit the Internet of Things (or IoT) market.
Evolving Consumer Expectations
Ombori Grid developed its innovative solutions after garnering vast practical experience working alongside retailers worldwide. First, the company recognized that consumers have become conditioned to smooth, efficient online experiences.
That expectation was established, and reinforced, during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Widespread lockdowns led home-bound consumers to increase their online shopping behaviors. In turn, online retailers fine-tuned their customer fulfillment services to deliver customer goods at impressive speeds.
With the pandemic winding down in 2021, consumers are gradually resuming their normal shopping habits. However, customers still expect streamlined experiences in physical spaces such as the retail environment, akin to how they made purchases digitally during the height of COVID-19.
By adding digital functionality to retail shopping areas and other customer-centric settings, retailers will get shoppers coming back into stores and increase revenue. Increasingly digitized environments translate to an increase in the IoT market segment's prominence.
IoT Platform Design and Logistics Issues
Designing these sophisticated, often-interactive spaces has historically been a time-consuming, complex, and involved proposition. Current vendor offerings have demonstrated unimpressive user experiences and often lack the necessary analytics functionality.
Prior to Ombori Grid's no-code apps, the only available option was to develop an expensive and laborious bespoke solution. Retailers had to engage consultants or set up in-house development teams to design and build, and maintain a custom hardware and software framework.
These logistics issues and expenses have resulted in systems that customers don't like and don't want to use. Retailers who have installed the digitalized systems found that they are difficult to scale to multiple store locations.
Enter Ombori's "Plug and Play" Solutions
Oskar Jakobsson Leads the Marketplace Solutions Effort
Oskar Jakobsson, formerly H&M's Head of Solution and Innovation, joined the Ombori Grid team on May 1, 2021. He assumed responsibility for the Ombori Grid and Marketplace development and expansion.
Jakobsson previously managed fashion retail giant H&M's innovation and testing programs. His 20 years of customer-focused retail work provide him with a perspective that will help to inform his Ombori work.
Oskar Jakobsson is confident that Ombori Grid is at a strategic nexus that will drive forward development of the IoT market. "We as a company are perfectly placed and the product itself is really at the forefront. Not least last year's pandemic has shown this and new customers are being added all the time."
Microsoft's Key Role in Ombori Grid Operations
The Microsoft Azure IoT platform hosts the Ombori Grid and the growing number of Marketplace solutions. Ombori Grid maintains an ongoing collaborative relationship with Microsoft. Speaking at the livestream launch event, Microsoft's Chase Hawkins highlighted the importance of spearheading ready-to-use solutions for business owners. Hawkins reported, "They (business owners) don't want to talk about the technology, they view it as 'plumbing'. They want the solutions."
For retailers who already have an Azure account, the purchase and billing process is quick and easy through the Azure Marketplace. There's no need to go through a lengthy procurement process, and payment can be made through their existing Microsoft Azure subscription, making the solutions easier to implement with less hurdles and time needed for vendor compliance assessments.
Retail Industry Solutions
Mega-airport-retailed Dufry tapped Ombori for Store Assistant implementation, providing a stress-free airport shopping experience. The solution is called the Guided Selling Store Assistant and it gives customers better flight information than even staff can. The kiosks at Dufry duty-free outlets at Madrid Airport leverage technology to help customers find products seamlessly, and avoid dreaded airport shopping delays.
The Ombori display, which is powered by Microsoft's Azure cloud, allows shoppers to scan their boarding pass from a smartphone to find information about their flight and gate number, and also provides a weather forecast for their destination.
The Ombori Wayfinder provides the customer with a product's exact location within the store. When an item is out of stock, the kiosk gives the customer two easy purchase options.
Recreation and Hospitality Industry Solutions
Ombori Grid's customized solutions can also be adapted to other industries' needs. High in the Swiss Alps, the Andermatt Ski Resort used Ombori's smartphone-enabled queue management system to eliminate long downhill ski lift lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Andermatt's nearby Radisson Blu Hotel, the restaurant and spa utilized a similar system for their respective customer reservations. Both facilities benefited from a controlled flow of customers while minimizing COVID-19 exposure risks.
Partner Ecosystem Development
Ombori Grid is committed to developing the Ombori Grid platform for its partners' benefit. The company will also make a targeted number of apps available through the Marketplace. In turn, Ombori's partners are expected to handle hardware management along with system installation and support.
Partners will also be able to create their own solutions or collaborate with Ombori Grid to design custom products. When completed, partners can add their solutions to the app Marketplace. Throughout the partnership process, Ombori Grid will cultivate partner relationships and encourage companies' long-term growth.
Andreas is Founder and CEO of Ombori. He is a serial entrepreneur who has founded several companies, starting in his teens. He has a background in cybersecurity, and has worked for companies such as H&M and Nordnet Bank. Andreas is a passionate believer in digital transformation, and is constantly seeking ways in which technology can change the way we work, shop, and live our lives.