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Telefónica pitches rejigged IoT and AI portfolio for post-Covid retail

Telefónica’s new digital-change unit, Telefónica Tech, has adapted its existing catalogue of IoT and big data solutions for the post-coronavirus recovery of the retail, tourism, hospitality, transport, and mobility sectors, it has said.

The Spain-based operator revealed a five-point reinvention plan at the end of 2019 to set it for “the next 100 years”, which included the formation of Telefónica Tech. The company reckons the new division will generate €2 billion in new revenue for the company from selling cybersecurity, IoT and analytics, and cloud services.

The firm said its revised Covid-19 portfolio provides technology for enterprises to adapt to new health and safety measures, set down by national and regional health authorities. It puts focus on the broad retail sector, in particular, covering tech-enabled social distancing and contact tracing measures in essential customer service or sales points in banks, petrol stations, supermarkets, pharmacies, distribution chains, and department stores.

The company provided details of certain compliance and intelligence tools, offered as part of the new portfolio. The It is offering contact-free IoT disinfectant gel dispensers, for example, along with real-time tracking of footfall density. Sensor data is collected in a ‘capacity management system’ at access points that issues alerts when retail spaces reach capacity.

Telefónica is also offering to optimise data about shoppers, and other users of public spaces, so companies can bring focus to their sales and service operations. It provided the example of better-dressed window displays, which use data collection about clients to adapt display products and signage, and draw shoppers in. 

“The solution helps clients not only to understand new mobility patterns, but also to compare [their] the behaviour… [across] different time periods.” It suggested comparing retail data from before, during, and after the coronavirus breakout and the various home-confinement measures put in place by national governments.

More generally, Telefónica is pushing digital assessment tools for enterprises, to analyse the maturity of companies’ various data implementation and management programmes, at “strategic, technological, organizational, and process level”. Managers can make assessments, and draw conclusions about shorter and longer term actions to deliver digital change, it said. 

As well, it has highlighted a new real-time ‘customer discovery’ tool that ‘listens-in’ to the opinions of users on social networks, digital media, forums, and blogs. The company is offering a dashboard to understand how brands are perceived, and how customers are making decisions in their various retail spaces.

Gonzalo Martín-Villa, global director of IoT and big data at Telefónica Tech, commented: “Our mission has always been to promote the digitalization of companies and organizations so that, by using technology, they are more efficient and competitive. The current situation, a product of the Covid-19 pandemic, has brought about a sudden paradigm shift, digital transformations have increased exponentially and technology will now play an even more fundamental role in dealing with this complex situation.

“With these solutions we want to help them reconnect with the new normality and quickly recover their activity, not only complying with security regulations but also helping them to correctly understand the behaviour of users who, after months of confinement, have had to adapt to a new reality in order to make better data-based decisions.”

The creation of Telefónica Tech is arguably the most compelling shift in its the Spanish group’s bid for growth and investors. Telefónica Tech will bring together digital businesses with high growth potential, it said. The unit will work as a digital change consultancy for the fourth industrial revolution, seeking to support their own efforts with digital transformation.

The unit will, itself, be split into three businesses, selling cybersecurity, IoT and analytics, and cloud services – which exist already as part of its enterprise sales offer and are posting notable gains. “These businesses are already collectively growing revenues by more than 30 per cent and the aim is to boost this growth,” the company said. Telefónica Tech is in acquisition mode, it added, seeking to complement its portfolio.

The €2 billion revenue figure, which the company quoted as a 2022 target for new sales, will come from selling digital change solutions via Telefónica Tech, it stated. José Cerdán, global head B2B, will take charge of the unit, as chief executive, reporting to chief operating officer Angel Vilá.

(Image: KUKA)
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