Nord-Pas de Calais is the French home of retail, mail order and distance selling, and all the top household names in the business are based here. It is therefore very appropriate that one of the region’s 5 research & innovation clusters is dedicated to developing distribution and retail, a sector which represents over 110,000 jobs.
PICOM is a collaborative venture between leading companies from the retail, distribution and ICT sectors and 15 R&D laboratories (with over 800 ICT experts). Its ambitious goal is to “make Lille an international capital and innovation ‘laboratory’, leading the retail sector into tomorrow’s world”. The cluster’s R&D and innovation objectives include: understanding the future of retail and distribution; following buying behaviour and consumption trends; and improving the business process.
This summer the cluster had 3 projects approved by FUI12, the French Government’s Inter-ministerial Innovation Fund. Two are being developed directly by the cluster and the third is a co-production.
The first, C3DS (which is short for ‘Camille 3D sensoriel) is aimed at developing a sense of well being in 3D and the sensations of trying a product through the creation of a personal avatar (via an initial body scan). This will then allow clients to try on and test products online or in the shop itself using a ‘magic mirror’.
The second, Smartstore, is another virtual project where you will use your smartphone as a remote to navigate shops in 3D and look closely at the products on offer from every possible angle.
“People believe we already have tomorrow’s retail today and that we have access to everything anytime, anywhere on any device”, explains Bruno Dubois, PICOM’s R&D Project Manager. “But in the future we’ll be surrounded by products and immersed in an intelligent environment which corresponds to, and even anticipates, our needs. We will receive relevant offers before we have even thought of them. The keys words for the future are ‘context’ and ‘place’”.
For more info on PICOM’s bright future www.picom.fr