Why we built Valtech Store in Sweden
November 21, 2016
At Valtech Day on 29 September of this year, we opened our smart, online experimental store to the public. No, that doesn’t mean we changed industry and started selling gadgets. Don’t worry, Valtech is still Valtech, a team of digital explorers that pioneers new solutions in collaboration with its customers everyday. We should probably start at the beginning and explain why we built the Valtech Store at our office in Stockholm.
88%... The numbers don’t lie: organisations have to work hard to keep up with the pace of change if they wish to remain relevant.
Ours is a changing world. Everything moves fast, but if you look at digital development in isolation, the rate of change is breathtaking. The pace of that evolution touches all of our lives, and it also affects our organisations, the companies we work for. They have to constantly be refining their offerings, products and services in order to remain relevant and competitive.
Did you know that 88% of the Fortune 500 companies in the United States as of 1955 no longer make the cut today? Which means that they have either folded, been bought out, or simply aren’t successful enough anymore.
What is at the core of your organisation?
So how do you go about staying relevant? When we talk to our customers, we tell them to identify the core of their business and then try to find new, innovative ways of looking at it. For example, this means that if you put out a newspaper, the core of your business is not the newspaper itself, but the news items inside it, the stories you tell. The deciding factor is not the tool you then choose to bring the news items to the public with. When you look at your product offering from the core outward, it gets much easier to identify new opportunities going forward.
Valtech’s core is digital. We explore and develop digital solutions along with our customers every day. We handle everything from digital strategy to business-critical digital services. But the breadth of our service offering does not mean that we remain unaffected by the rapid pace of technological change. Which means that we also need to refine our product offering, and in fact do so constantly.
What made IoT and retail the natural step
As we all know, it’s not enough just to engage in introspection and grasp the core of your business; you also need to understand the business environment, your users, prevailing social trends and technological developments.
Many believe that the Internet of Things, or IoT for short, will have a major impact on the world we live in. Jeremy Rifkin, author and advisor to Angela Merkel and the EU, goes as far as to say that the IoT will cause the last major job boom, after which our society will be forced to transform into something he calls the “Collaborative Commons”.
The picture Rifkin paints will not materialise until sometime out in the future, but according to a report by McKinsey, it will not be long before the IoT begins transforming a number of industries. After heavy industry, urban planning and healthcare, retail is forecast to be the sector that will undergo the greatest transformation and evolution over the next 10 years.
It goes without saying that we are curious about all new technologies, and IoT has been a priority area at Valtech for some time now; it is also something we are already working with in customer projects, and is an important part of the Valtech Store.
But the Internet of Things is not alone at the top. There are several other exciting areas, including Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality. We are so excited about them that we have included a couple of these in the solutions we developed for the Valtech Store.
Valtech Store - an area for us and our customers
In order to be able to develop really good products for physical spaces, we need more than just an area where can we build, tinker and experiment: One of which we already have, called Valtech Labs. We also need an area where we can stress test the solutions. Emilio, one of our amazing developers, got it right when he recently said “Reality is creative!” What he meant was that everything that can break, does. Things break in ways you never could have imagined. Once you have properly stress-tested your IoT solution, you are ready to take the next step, the pilot. In this step you determine whether the solution actually does its job and whether it is appreciated by end-users.
More than just talk
And finally – for us it’s not enough to just talk about what we can do; we want to show what we can do. This time we did it by building a smart, online experimental store at our offices in Stockholm.
Soon we will be publishing a blog post about the Valtech Store, introducing the concept and showing off the finished prototypes. Don’t miss it!