Connected Retail Map - What, why and how?
Our Connected Retail Map has finally been published after some six months of research, design and development. Along the way I kind of forgot why we did it and I know that people are going to rightly question the content and approach, so I thought it would be useful to try and explain it all here.
The industry map concept is not new. When I started working in mobile in 2006 the industry maps that were created gave us a sense of an industry that was dynamic and growing and to be featured was an ego boost, especially for four people in a tiny room off London Fields. Those maps quickly became bloated with hundreds of companies (a brand vomit, if you like) that wasn’t very insightful or useful.
Our map is hopefully a little more compact and usable (and much prettier) than the standard industry maps around . It’s designed to capture the technology vendors and other industry players that are helping to create a new generation of connected spaces – with the focus being on retail and leisure stores and venues (rather than general public or private spaces).
As a company we are interested in how digital technology, platforms and processes are changing the way that these physical places work in themselves and how they integrate with other channels, especially online. We’ve ignored pure eCommerce as such, but many of the vendors here have a foot in both camps.
Lots of people I’ve talked to about the map have questioned why we would advertise other companies on our site. In reality, while there are elements of cross-over, we don’t really consider anyone here to be a direct competitor. Some are existing partners, the rest we consider potential partners – which really comes from our approach to technology and 3rd party innovations.
I hope that what comes out of this picture of a fragmented and expansive vendor market is the need for companies like ours that can make sense of this and deliver integrated and operational solutions for clients out of any of the technologies available. Maybe we should have called the map our ‘connected retail toolkit’?
The seed of the map was planted last year when I attempted to capture the market ahead of the 2015 Connected Stores conference, really to help the conference organisers with their sales and agenda building, but also as an exercise in establishing our place in the new ecosystem. From that we began to create a long list of vendors, adding new companies as they came onto our radar. We’ve probably been US and UK centric, and there’s been no formal desk research here, just a gradual accumulation.
We then attempted to order the companies into logical sections. Some could sit in more than one, and we ran out of time and space on the map. There are many more we know we need to add and many obvious ones that we’ve probably missed. Pretty much the whole company has been involved in creating this content, but special thanks to Jordan for being persistent and patient whilst doing a lot of the leg work, Aurelien for the innovative design and Simon D for the creative coding.
If you have any comments on the content, want to be featured or want to suggest an edit to an entry feel free to get in touch via our info address.
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