Derek Rodner is the vice president of product strategy at Agilence, an industry-leading company in retail big data. In this interview Derek talks about the implications of more widespread use of big data on retail video surveillance and security systems, and about future trends in the industry.
Sramana Mitra: Hi, Derek. Could you please start by putting some context around Agilence so that our readers are able to follow the rest of the story accordingly?
Derek Rodner: I’d be happy to. Agilence is a big data and cloud provider focused on the retail space. Our goal is to provide store-level insight across the entire chain at a corporate level. Our customer range is anywhere from small retailers all the way up to Rite Aid, which has 4,700 locations around the country.
SM: In terms of big data capabilities and services, could you be a bit more specific on what you do for customers?
DR: Big data is a new market, and it is interesting in many ways. Although retailers have had a focus on big data in terms of marketing customer analytics, sales data and, demographics, there has been no real focus on the actual operation of retail and the implications of big data on those spaces. So, what we focus on are all of the systems that exist in the stores. You have structure data, which is point of sale data; you have alarms and access controls, bio-touch solutions, digital scales, RFID and EAS tags. This is some of the information that is structured.
You also have a boatload of unstructured information that comes in in the form of video. A medium-sized store can gather 1,000 hours of video a day, which is impossible to view manually. What we do is we combine all of these data sets together in the store and provide a tool to to analyze all that data and and comparisons where you would otherwise not be able to, because the reporting of these applications exist in its own little world. We bring all that data together into centralized dashboards and reporting tools. This allows you to make comparisons in the data, to drill down into the data on a very fine-grained level and link that data with video. Therefore, you can understand better what is going on in the operations of the store – the [task] of focusing on the customer and attracting and retaining customers. We are focused on operations in the store itself.