Thanks to cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and 5G technologies, every link in the retail supply chain is becoming more tightly integrated. These technologies are also allowing retailers to capture and gather insights from more and more data \u2013 with a big assist from artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies \u2013 to become more efficient and achieve evolving sustainability goals. \n\nFrom maintaining produce at the proper temperature to optimizing a distributor\u2019s delivery routes, retail organizations are transforming their businesses to streamline product storage and delivery and take customer experiences to a new level of convenience\u2014saving time and resources and reinforcing new mandates for sustainability along the entire value chain.\n\n\u201cTransformation using these technologies is not just about finding ways to reduce energy consumption now,\u201d says Binu Jacob, Head of IoT, Microsoft Business Unit, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). \u201cIt\u2019s also about being able to capture the insights needed to better forecast energy consumption in the future.\u201d\n\nReducing energy consumption across the value chain\n\nFor example, AI\/ML technologies can detect the outside temperature and regulate warehouse refrigeration equipment to keep foods appropriately chilled, preventing spoilage and saving energy.\n\n\u201cThe more information we can collect about energy consumption of in-store food coolers, and then combine that with other data such as how many people are in the store or what the temperature is outside, the more efficiently these systems can regulate temperature for the coolers to optimize energy consumption,\u201d says K.N. Shanthakumar, Solution Architect \u2013 IoT, Retail Business Unit, TCS.\n\nLandmark Group, one of the largest retail and hospitality organizations in the Middle East, wanted to reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint, improve operational excellence, and make progress toward its sustainability goals. Working with TCS, Landmark Group deployed TCS Clever Energy at more than 500 sites, including stores, offices, warehouses, and malls, resulting in significant improvements in energy efficiency and carbon emissions at these sites.\n\n\u201cRetail customers are looking to achieve net zero goals by creating sustainable value chains and reducing the environmental impact of their operations,\u201d says Marianne R\u00f6ling, Vice President Global System Integrators, Microsoft. \u201cTCS\u2019 extensive portfolio of sustainability solutions, built on Microsoft Cloud, provides a comprehensive approach for businesses to embrace sustainability and empower retail customers to reduce their energy consumption, decarbonize their supply chains, meet their net zero goals, and deliver on their commitments.\u201d\n\nOptimizing delivery workflows\n\nFor delivery to retail outlets, logistics programs\u2014TCS DigiFleet is one example\u2014increasingly rely on AI\/ML to help distributors plan optimized routes for drivers, reducing fuel consumption and associated costs. Video and visual analytics ensure that trucks are filled before they leave the warehouse or distribution center, consolidating deliveries into fewer trips. Sensors and other IoT devices track inventory and ensure that products are safe and secure. Postnord implemented this solution to increase fill rate, thereby improving operations and cost savings.\u00a0\n\n\u201cInstead of dispatching multiple trucks with partially filled containers, you can send fewer trucks with fully loaded containers on a route that has been optimized for the most efficient delivery,\u201d says Shanthakumar. \u201c5G helps with the monitoring of contents of the containers and truck routes in real time while dynamically making adjustments as needed and communicating with the driver for effective usage.\u201d\n\nMore data, better insights\n\nWith cloud-driven modernization, intelligence derived from in-store systems and sensors can automatically feed into the supply chain to address consumer expectations on a real-time basis. In keeping with the farm-to-fork movement, for example, consumers can scan a barcode to find out where a product originated and what cycles it went through before landing on the grocery store shelf.\n\nWith 5G-enabled smart mirrors, a person can virtually try on apparel. By means of a touchpad or kiosk, the mirror technology can superimpose a garment on a picture to show the shopper how it will look, changing colors and other variables with ease.\n\nRetail transformation enabled by AI\/ML, IoT and 5G technologies is still evolving, but we\u2019re already seeing plenty of real-world examples of what the future holds, including autonomous stores and drone deliveries. The key for retail organizations is building a cloud-based infrastructure that not only accelerates this type of innovation, but also helps them become more resilient, adaptable, and sustainable while staying compliant, maintaining security, and preventing fraud.\n\nLearn more about how TCS\u2019 Sustainability and Smart Store solution empowers retailers to reimagine store operations, optimize operational costs, improve security, increase productivity, and enhance customer experience.