Turnpike Group: Giving a Technological Makeover to Retail

Increasingly, retailers are collecting more data on their customers. However, they’re rarely making a good use of it. Our client’s solution is a platform, using AI, machine learning and computer vision to discover issues requiring immediate attention, while simultaneously training the system.

Turnpike Group: Giving a Technological Makeover to Retail
Turnpike Group: Giving a Technological Makeover to Retail

Services

Mobile

Industry

Manufacturing & Construction

Country

Sweden

Technologies

Android/Kotlin, iOS/Swift, Firmware/C, DevOps, Azure IoT Hub, Azure Device Twin

 

The Client 

Turnpike Group is a Stockholm-based company producing customized wearables and smartwatches for staff in retail, manufacture and hospitality. Using IoT, AI and cloud-connected technologies they enable the staff to interact with the customers in real time at the right place. This customer experience means higher customer satisfaction as well as increased conversion. Which makes the staff more efficient, successful, satisfied and safe at work leading to improved performance and production. The innovation has already attracted the attention of heavyweights like H&M and IKEA.

The Product

Increasingly, retailers are collecting more data on their customers. However, they’re rarely making a good use of it. Instead of relying on monthly or weekly reports, store managers and front-line employees could be enabled to take corrective actions in real time. Our client’s solution is a platform, using AI, machine learning and computer vision to discover issues requiring immediate attention, while simultaneously training the system. It can monitor and send alerts about visitor traffic, queues, shelves and more. 

The staff receives short and simple notifications on their wearables. Like recommendations and information gathered via real-time shopping data. The communication works in a glance without pulling staff away from the customer's face-to-face interaction. Real-time data and machine learning give managers and the rest of the staff a direct digital connection to the customers. Using predictive analytics, they can even foresee what the customers may need even before they know it themselves. Help buttons, interactive screens and other digital hardware in stores further responsive customer service.

Our Partnership

Melon is thrilled to have had a role in creating this effective tool. Our team was included in the Android and iOS applications, the Apple Watch application and the firmware.

We joined Turnpike Group’s effort as a technological partner in September 2017. Back then we started working on two different products. One of them is now introduced to H&M in Berlin. It’s a mobile application for Android and iOS communicating with smartwatches produced by the client themselves. Also, our IT Operations department stepped-in when the client needed cloud solutions and configuration of the messages sent to the end-users. In 2020, Turnpike Group became hardware agnostic, making the platform available on Samsung Galaxy and Apple watches. Melon developed the new Apple watch application, excluding from the equation the smartphones because of the internet connection and communication directly established with the cloud services. We dedicated 2 Android and 1 iOS developers and for a couple of months 1 DevOps engineer. We used the scrum methodology having a demo every three weeks.

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Initially, the English football team of ManCity used the wearables manufactured by our client for entertainment and close connection with the football fans who received news about their club and live updates about football matches. The bands also helped the fan store staff in their everyday tasks at work. From there Turnpike Group came with the idea that they can help retailers, manufacturers and the hospitality businesses achieve more. By using IoT, AI, machine learning and cloud technologies they could speed-up customer support, shorten queues, and provide the staff with live performance data and real-time overview.

Challenges

In terms of the development, the most challenging part was the Bluetooth communication. We had certain issues and had to try different approaches and libraries to overcome them. The next thing was using Azure DevOps services for IoT and IoT Edge services to send messages to the smartphones. Today, the client is using the same service for the Apple watch application. It was really good that they migrated the SDK which is not completely compatible with the Apple watch as it is C native SDK but Melon’s iOS dedicated developer helped for the migration and complete function of the service. 

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At the end of the day, with all issues solved, we’re very happy to have been part of the software development of this innovation seamless product trying to close the loop between the retailers’ digital efforts, their staff and real-time data on customers. On the way, we were able to gain valuable experience and know-how with IoT and Bluetooth technologies.