Why Retailers Are Investing in Edge Computing and AI

New NVIDIA Fleet Command enables AI at scale for smarter retail.
by Azita Martin

AI is a retailer’s automated helper, acting as a smart assistant to suggest the perfect position for products in stores, accurately predict consumer demand, automate order fulfillment in warehouses, and much more.

The technology can help retailers grow their top line, potentially improving net profit margins from 2 percent to 6 percent — and adding $1 trillion in profits to the industry globally — according to McKinsey Global Institute analysis.

It can also help them hold on to more of what they already have by reducing shrinkage — the loss of inventory due to theft, shoplifting, ticket switching at self-checkout lanes, etc. — which costs retailers $62 billion annually, according to the National Retail Federation.

For retailers, the ability to deploy, manage and scale AI across their entire distributed edge infrastructure using a single, unified platform is critical. Managing these many devices is no small feat for IT teams as the process can be time-consuming, expensive and complex.

NVIDIA is working with retailers, software providers and startups to create an ecosystem of AI applications for retail, such as intelligent stores, forecasting, conversational AI and recommendation systems, that help retailers pull real-time insights from their data to provide a better shopping experience for their customers.

Smart Retail Managed Remotely at the Edge

The NVIDIA EGX platform makes it easy to deploy and continuously update AI applications in distributed stores and warehouses. It combines GPU-accelerated edge servers, a cloud-native software stack and containerized applications in NVIDIA NGC, a software catalog that offers a range of industry-specific AI toolkits and pre-trained models.

To provide customers a unified control plane through which to manage their AI infrastructure, NVIDIA announced this week during the GPU Technology Conference a new hybrid-cloud platform called NVIDIA Fleet Command.

Fleet Command centralizes the management of servers spread across vast areas. It offers one-touch provisioning, over-the-air software updates, remote management and detailed monitoring dashboards to make it easier for operational teams to reduce the burden of IT to get the most out of their AI applications. Fleet Command is available now.

KION Group Pursues One-Touch Intelligent Warehouse Deployment

KION Group, a global supply chain solutions provider, is looking to use Fleet Command to securely deploy and update their applications through a unified control plane, from anywhere, at any time. They are using the NVIDIA EGX platform to develop AI applications for its intelligent warehouse systems, increasing the throughput and efficiency in its more than 6,000 retail distribution centers.

This quick demo shows how Fleet Command helps KION Group simplify the deployment and management of AI at the edge — from material handling to autonomous forklifts to pick-and-place robotics.

Deep North Delivers Transformative Insights with In-Store Analytics

Retailers use Deep North’s AI platform to digitize their shopping locations, analyze anonymous shopper behavior inside stores and conduct visual analytics. The platform gives retailers the ability to predict and adapt to consumer behavior in their commercial spaces and optimize store layout and staffing in high-traffic aisles.

The company uses NVIDIA EGX to simplify AI deployment, server management and device orchestration. With EGX, AI computations are performed at the edge entirely in stores, delivering real-time notifications to store associates for better inventory management and optimized staffing.

By optimizing its intelligent video analytics applications on NVIDIA T4 GPUs with the NVIDIA Metropolis application framework, Deep North has seen orders-of-magnitude improvement in edge compute performance while delivering real-time insights to customers.

Growing AI Opportunities for Retailers

The NVIDIA EGX platform and Fleet Command deliver accelerated, secure AI computing to the edge for retailers today. And a growing number of them are applying GPU computing, AI, robotics and simulation technologies to reinvent their operations for maximum agility and profitability.

To learn more, check out my session on “Driving Agility in Retail with AI” at GTC. Explore how NVIDIA is leveraging AI in retail through GPU-accelerated containers, deep learning frameworks, software libraries and SDKs. And watch how NVIDIA AI is transforming everyday retail experiences:


Also watch NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang recap all the news at GTC: