On this episode of the MarketScale retail podcast, host Tyler Kern is joined by Ed Crowley, Harbor Retail Senior Director, Technology Development & Engineering, to discuss the desire for engaging in-store digital experiences and the roadblocks still standing in between retailers and achieving those experiences.

Crowley highlighted the “Four Modes of Failure” that account for many an experience going off the rails – power, hardware, content and software.

Retail also faces a unique connectivity challenge, Crowley said.

“In retail, the majority of the fixtures are typically offline because of the challenges with wireless or cellular in a store,” Crowley said. “If you go into a big-box store and you work toward the back where the appliances are, a lot of times, you can’t make a phone call.”

Uptime, Crowley said, is perhaps the most critical element of any digital experience – you can design the most interesting and unique installation in the world, but if no one can experience it because it isn’t working properly, it can’t do its job.

“The last thing you want to have when you’re designing an interactive experience for a major brand, whether it’s an appliance brand or a consumer electronics brand … is, when somebody walks up to learn about your project, to have it not working,” he said.

Kern and Crowley also touched on self-healing technology, a philosophy on being proactive in managing the four “villains” inhibiting experience success, not leveraging technology simply for technology’s sake, and more.

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