Intel Goes On The Retail Internet of Things Offensive With New Platform For Partners, $100 Million Investment

Intel is going on the Internet of Things offensive, on Monday unveiling a new IoT platform focused on the retail vertical, and promising to dish out a blowout $100 million investment in the connected retail industry.

Intel said it will invest $100 million in IoT retail efforts over the next five years through its new Responsive Retail Platform – and the platform will be available through the channel, including Arrow Systems, Bluemetal, and Smartrac.

The platform offers retail hardware, software, APIs and sensors to help retail businesses integrate technologies and find new business insights. Speaking at the National Retail Federation on Monday, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said that the new platform would "help transform how people shop and how shops can better serve them."

[Related: 20 Crazy Connected IoT Products At CES 2017]

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"The retail platform collects multiple data streams to connect digital and physical environments. With the goals of lowering costs and increasing sales, the platform helps optimally place inventory, deploy employees and other resources, and track inventory – through the supply chain to the store door," said Krzanich in a separate blog post. "It provides in-the-moment information about what customers are buying, what they want and how to manage inventory so it arrives just in time for customers to take it home."

With Intel's new platform, businesses can monitor real-time, automated actions for their store employees and customers, and significantly reduce costs and time to deploy new store services.

The platform includes an Intel-based retail sensor, a multi-sensor product that enables data ingestion from different areas in the store through an RFID reader and antenna, as well as an Intel-based HP gateway based on the Core i7 or Xeon processors.

Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based Intel system builder, applauded Intel's new platform as an opportunity for the channel to dive into retail IoT: "The opportunity is very exciting" for resellers, he said.

"I do believe that store front retail businesses will be very open to using technology to improve, and more importantly to change, the in-store experience," he said. "Larger organizations can certainly make more investment in this area and will be the leaders in terms of utilizing the solutions first. But for small regional VARs their potential rests with 'mom and pop' type retailers or other small businesses. So the innovative part for these resellers will be how to make the new technologies available, affordable and usable for small retail businesses."

IoT retail has been a longstanding focus for Intel's channel program – in 2015 the company launched a partner designation incentive for retail-focused IoT, which offers eligible Gold and Platinum partners access to Intel technical specialists, vertical-specific resources, and professional development tools for formulating end-to-end solutions.

Moving forward, Intel will continue to develop technologies that will help "transform the shopping experience in the near future," said Krzanich in the blog post. "The investment will enable retailers to unify every part of their operations, create a positive impact on their bottom line, and solve longstanding business challenges."