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Digital transformation can deliver a huge range of benefits for retailers, from increased sustainability through to greater financial efficiency. But it is also, thanks to controls agnosticism, more accessible than ever.

Revolutionary benefits are attainable for food retailers who adopt Internet of Things (IoT) technologies across their estates. From improving sustainability and mitigating food waste to creating more efficient supply chains, digitally transforming processes, operations and infrastructure presents a range of compelling benefits for the industry. However, traditionally, these benefits have come at the cost of financially hefty and lengthy processes associated with integrating IoT solutions into complex food retail environments. So, how are modern advancements in such technologies breaking down the barriers to digital transformation and making change accessible to organisations of all sizes?

For the food retail industry, the historical issues with implementing technologies to digitally transform their stores have outweighed the potential benefits and have been a huge barrier to uptake. For larger format retailers there is the worry that the new digital systems will require an arduous overhaul of infrastructure and require machine downtime, disruption to trading or even closure of stores to replace the machines they want to integrate into the solutions, such as refrigerators, HVAC systems, lighting, sensors, and energy meters.  

On the other side of the spectrum, small retailers have also seen the cost of digitally transforming their operations to be too high, believing true transformation must involve a comprehensive network of new, expensive infrastructure to be installed. For both large and small retailers, there is a clear time and cost barrier preventing them from pursuing digitalisation.

However, thanks to IMS Evolve’s machine agnostic systems the barriers to IoT adoption have actually never been lower. Through what is essentially a plug and play approach to asset integration, these innovative IoT solutions are enabling retailers of all sizes to enter the modern era, transform their estates and reap the benefits of digitalisation. But just how exactly do control agnostics systems work?  

By deploying a controls agnostic solution as a digital layer over the top of existing infrastructure such as fridges, freezers, lighting and HVAC systems, digital transformation of almost any machine, regardless of age or manufacturer, can be enabled. Where traditional monitoring and controls systems are limited to being able to connect to the latest assets or machines made by the same manufacturer, agnostic technology can connect to almost any device, and with decades of experience and integration to thousands of retail sites globally, IMS Evolve’s technology can ‘speak the language’ of thousands of devices.

This flexible and configurable solution enables an efficient, cost-effective approach to IoT implementation without the traditional off-putting barriers. An agnostic approach also enables IoT solutions to be deployed quickly, with no need to drastically overhaul existing infrastructure or requirement for machine downtime, taking projects from POC to full scale rollout in a fraction of the time of traditional digitalisation projects. Rapid deployment of the software goes in tandem with the immediate monitoring and management of real-time data, giving food retailers a fast return on investment as well as the ability to see a quick improvement in processes, operations and asset health and performance.  

So, digitalisation doesn’t have to take years to implement and break the bank in the process. Thanks to advances in IoT technologies, solutions like those offered by IMS Evolve allows retailers to quickly implement digital transformations in their stores without the need for a large-scale upgrade and with no disruption to trading. The barriers to digitalisation have never been lower, so now is the time for retailers to make the most of the economic and environmental benefits of digital transformation.