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Cloud-based Intelligence for Retail Business



The more retailers learn about customer behavior, the greater their chances of selling products. Using IoT technology to collect customer and commodity data, and analyzing that data to extract useful information that can improve business strategies and practices is one of the hottest topics in retail today.

By applying Intelligent Video Analytics to the accumulating video database, retailers can analyze customer flows in and out of the store or shopping mall, detecting patterns for females and males, elders and youngsters, where more of them stay and stay longer, and the like. Moreover, the IVA can generate a “heat map” indicating customer flows in the shopping space. Another new tool for detecting customer behaviors is RFID-based electronic tags installed on products; tags track visitor rates and sales rates, showing comparative interest levels in different products.

Application Requirements

A Retail project developer has to face the reality that there are already systems existing in their customers’ stores or shopping malls, such as IVS, POS, RFID, Beacon and other environment sensors, all with different I/O interfaces, communication methods and data transmission formats. The system integrator has to find a way to integrate multiple systems and devices into an intelligent network, and provide a platform for creating business intelligence. Both hardware and software solutions are needed to allow data collected from various sources to be transmitted, exchanged, processed and displayed in standard IoT protocols. Data streaming, storage, and analytic tools must be established for cloud applications.

System Solution

For Retail, Advantech provides a comprehensive IoT solution from bottom to top, from hardware to software, all the way to cloud access. There are two gateway systems options: ARK-2121L for cases that need more versatile I/O interfaces and more sophisticated controls; and the more economic ARK-1123H, suitable for more simplified data channeling purposes. All field devices (video cameras, RFID reader, POS, environment sensors, etc.) send data to the IoT gateway via wired or wireless transmission, either directly or via a router. The Advantech gateway system is equipped with WISE-Agent software, which converts all the received data into MQTT format for IoT data transfer, and sends the unified data to the backend server and cloud databases.

For the agent and server levels, Advantech provides an IoT software platform called WISE-PaaS/RMM Pro version to enable data management, data storage, and data applications. WISE-PaaS/RMM contains a dashboard builder and 100+ RESTful APIs that let designers develop user interfaces on Advantech WebAccess/IMM software. WithRESTful support, the retail system can easily integrate new functions, new data and other information systems—such as a Customer Management System (CMS) and digital signage system—so as to maximize value.

For cloud applications, WISE-PaaS/RMM is now available in Microsoft Azure Marketplace, and users can push their data to a space in the marketplace and analyze data with tools provided by Azure. By analyzing big data, tables, trend charts, and heat maps can be generated and displayed on the dashboard. Retailers can view the dashboard on a PC, tablet, smartphone or other device to gain business intelligence anywhere at any time.

With IoT and cloud technology, customer information collected from different sources and different sites can be collected and accumulated into a big database for valuable business intelligence extraction. For example, when aglobal retail chain deploys an IoT system across its retail sites, it can implement market analyses to determine and predict customer interests in different countries and areas and adjust inventory accordingly. This can help policy makers develop deep overall insight into their business and improve business management and overall strategies.


  • Total software and hardware solutions for POS machines and data acquisition gateway management
  • Remote data acquisition and device monitoring for environmental sensors and server room status for each branch store 
  • Seamless connection to Microsoft Azure cloud service helps users gain business intelligence
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