Parlem Telecom has revealed details of an attempt at progressive retail in Barcelona, made possible by 5G along with the Internet of Things and edge computing.
This opens up the possibility of augmented reality (AR) and personalized virtual retail in traditional crowded markets, where remote users can select specific products from different stops with the help of a “personal shopper” equipped with AR glasses.
The Catalan telecom provider believes that 5G can create new opportunities for personalized and immersive online sales in traditional markets, aiming to recreate in digital environments the same experience customers get in physical locations.
The process in Barcelona famous market La Boqueria, was conducted to provide remote users with a virtual shopping experience using AR technology that preserves the distinctive values of traditional shopping. The technological solution promoted by Parlem aims to open up new possibilities for the e-commerce platforms of traditional stores, as it allows customers who cannot physically shop – for example due to lack of time, distance or physical disabilities – to buy fresh products as such when they are on the market itself would be.
The Augmented Reality Personal Shopper App enables virtual shoppers to select specific products from market stalls on their devices (PC, tablet or cell phone) in real time and to receive additional information about them with AR. The system, based on a private 5G network with edge computing servers that guarantees minimal communication latency and high bandwidth, involves the participation of a La Boqueria personal shopper, who uses AR glasses as an intermediary between buyer and seller.
The shopper interacts with the stall holders and communicates live with the online shopper via video conference with ultra-high definition images. During the shopping process, the virtual user receives an AR interface, which the personal shopper observes with his glasses in La Boqueria.
The 5G demonstration was based on a standalone 5G network developed and deployed by Cellnex Telecom and Edge computing solutions from Lenovo. A 5G access cell has been set up in La Boqueria, which receives the signal and transmits it via fiber optic connection to a facility at the Municipal Institute of Parks and Gardens of Barcelona, which acts as a data center and processes the signal to connect to the local Cellnex server is in the same room.
The Augmented Reality Personal Shopper Application was developed by the i2CAT Foundation on behalf of Parlem Telecom as the leader in this use case in La Boqueria.
Ernest Pérez-Mas, CEO of Parlem Telecom, said: “The development of an innovative application with augmented reality in a setting as emblematic as La Boqueria can represent a step forward for the e-commerce sector and ensure that local businesses go digital evolve without losing their identity thanks to the potential of 5G.”
Red.es Director General Alberto Martínez Lacambra added: “5G is a technology with transformative power that will mark a revolution and is an essential vector of the digitization envisaged in the Spanish Government’s Plan for Reconstruction, Transformation and Resilience and a of the pillars of the Digital Spain 2025 strategy. Today we have seen a clear example of the real impact that the use cases of the 5G pilots will have on our way of life, on the way we travel or shop – without a doubt a unique opportunity for improve our cities, our citizens and for us the productivity of our economy.”
The Barcelona Market initiative is the first use case of the 5G Catalonia pilot is driven past Red.es, an entity affiliated with the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Digital Transformation. The pilot project is being developed by a joint venture of eight companies led by Cellnex Telecom and the Masmovil Group, involving operator Parlem Telecom, AR for industry specialist Aumenta Solutions, engineering company Atos, consultancy Nae, technology company Lenovo and startup Nearby Computing – a spin-off from the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre.
The 5G Catalonia project has a total budget of 5.4 million euros and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. The network remains installed in Barcelona after the end of the use case.