Ubiquitous Computing, Contactless Points, and Distributed Stores

Ubiquitous Computing, Contactless Points, and Distributed Stores

Marco Savastano (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy), Eleonora Pantano (Middlesex University London, UK) and Saverino Verteramo (University of Calabria, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch679
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Abstract

The new technologies modify both customer behavior and corporate approach to retail process, by changing both the way consumers access and consumption of information. In this scenario, a huge number of “contactless technologies” is emerging as the most promising direction for supporting automatic payment and self-checkout. Similarly, ubiquitous retailing is acquiring importance in the current competitive scenario, based on ubiquitous computing (or ubiquitous access to information). As a consequence, these innovations are removing the boundaries of the physical space and pushing retailers to redefine the traditional business model and practices. The aim of this chapter is to provide a comprehensive framework of this new competitive scenario, starting from the most innovative technologies in retail domain with emphasis on the new ubiquitous ones, and shed lights on the future of the (technology-enriched) places of shopping.
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Background

As anticipated, the continuous progresses in information and communication technologies (ICT) impact on retail strategy and operations triggering the proliferation of new channels and new modalities through which customers may directly interact with firms. Due to the large amount of technological innovations, the necessity to classify them emerges as the starting point for a deep understanding of the current scenario. In this chapter, we propose a classification based on the functions of these systems for retail purposes as follows: (i) technologies for virtually trying the products, (ii) technologies for automatic product search, (iii) technologies for automatic payments, and (iv) full-service technologies (technologies integrating all these services).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Quick Response Codes (QR): Bidimensional barcode able to augment the reality with contents and information by scanning it with a smartphone camera. AU32: Reference appears to be out of alphabetical order. Please check

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): One of the first examples of contactless technology, consisting of a modern version of the barcode. It is based on a radio frequency transceiver (transmitter and receiver) attached to the item to be identified by a reader device (interrogator device) used to read the information stored on the tag.

Near Field Communication (NFC): Technology providing mobile devices with wireless two-way short-range connectivity up to a maximum of 10 cm.

Contactless Technologies: New technologies based on proximity sensor that allows payment without providing any pin or signature.

Beacon: Small and low cost transmitting device, which do not require a limited distance between the devices to set the transaction. This device might share data via Bluetooth connections, such as specific deals or product information, while tracking consumers location/route within the store (in-store location).

Ubiquitous Computing: A sort of extension of mobile computing based on the portable accessing technologies (i.e. cameras, Location Based Service, Ubiquitous Sensor Network, etc.), always connected to a network, and linked to web-based multimedia content repositories that adapt the provided contents according to users’ characteristics (i.e. location) ( Lin, et al., 2011 ).

Distributed Store: New stores not related to a specific location but distributed, in terms of access anytime and anywhere within an area enriched with contactless and ubiquitous technologies.

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