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Solving Consumer-Facing Challenges Through Open-Source Technology

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Consumer-facing industries such as retail and hospitality need help with getting to their solutions faster. Accelerating solution-based development is a critical step to accomplishing this goal. Communicating with devices at the edge has proven a challenge for these sectors, as their primary concern is accessing that data, not necessarily the process that drives the result. Time and resources on this end aren’t necessarily where retailers want to devote their budgets. 

Key takeaways:

  • Developing solutions in consumer-facing industries is challenging due to the vast number of protocols, device manufacturers, and competing frameworks

  • Open-source technology provides developers access to easy ‘Plug and Play’ distributed microservices and software architecture so they can focus on data value creation.

  • Intel aims to accelerate innovation with retail and hospitality developers through open and secure software initiatives such as The EdgeX Foundry.

How can these industries overcome these challenges? That’s where Intel and open-source communities like EdgeX can help. To the Edge and Beyond’s Gabrielle Bejarano spoke with Intel Product Engineer Sean Williams on how Intel utilizes open-source solutions to overcome the communication hurdles and get industries the data, they need to solve pressing business problems. 

One such open source-based solution, Williams said, is a camera management inferencing solution, which provides device connectors. “These device connectors allow you to communicate, connect, and control IP cameras at the edge. Out of the box, if you have this example, you can download the software, launch the software stack, and immediately you’re talking, and you’re connecting to other IP cameras or USB Cameras at the edge.” 

The solution also helps retailer face problems like theft and inventory management using object detection. “If you’re in an environment where retailers want to know the inventory, if the inventory is low, you can do on-the-shelf observations. “You can also capture when customers are using self-checkout to incorrectly register expensive items like a bottle of wine with inexpensive items like bananas”–Williams said.  

Shaping these solutions doesn’t happen alone; collaboration makes the best technology offerings come to life. “We’re working primarily with the EdgeX community, and that’s the open-source platform that provides many of these plug & play connectors that I’ve talked about,” Williams said. “And that’s the power again, right, because the power is in the data. And the data comes from how you can talk to those devices at the edge. Using EdgeX, as the name offers, allows these connectors to be validated, tested, tried, and true, and almost out of the box, you can say, hey, I want to talk to an RFID sensor; you get the RFID connector.” EdgeX provides the ability to connect to all these sensors across many industries. 

To learn more about open-source communities and the work Intel is doing with EdgeX listen to the full podcast episode here. 

Learn more about the EdgeX Camera management sample application here