Verizon 5G immersive Retail Accelerator program with Digital Catapult goes live

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Supporting the development of NextGen immersive experiences with the power of 5G; Real-world challenges set by major brands Burberry, Diageo and L’Oréal UK & Ireland

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LONDON, U.K. - Verizon Business has joined forces with Digital Catapult, the UK’s leading advanced digital technology innovation centre, and leading industry partners to launch the Verizon 5G immersive Retail Accelerator program designed to develop the next generation of immersive retail experiences.

The first of its kind, the initiative will explore how 5G-enabled solutions can solve real-world challenges for some of the world’s leading brands - Burberry, Diageo and L’Oréal UK & Ireland, all of which see 5G adoption as a strategic opportunity.

The program is now open to start-ups and scale-ups currently working within the retail, immersive or customer experience space which are interested in or are already developing new cutting-edge 5G technology solutions and applications. This may include concepts around the in-store experience, out of store experience, digital product visualization and virtual events such as fashion shows and product showcases.

Successful applicants will have access to Verizon’s 5G capabilities as well as the Yahoo Ryot XR production studio and Verizon 5G Lab, all located in London, in order to generate their proof of concepts. These concepts will be showcased at the end of the program. 

“The pandemic has demonstrated the transformational impact technology can have on our ability to adapt to periods of uncertainty,” said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business. “The quicker people are able to integrate technology across their organization, the easier their business will adapt to new trends. The Verizon 5G Immersive Retail Accelerator Program embraces the power of 5G, and promises to transform the customer experience through a range of innovative technologies, including immersive experience, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.” 

Geraldina Iraheta, Chief Commercial Officer at Digital Catapult, commented: “Now, more than ever, retail organizations are looking at how new technologies can help them captivate customers and find new ways of enhancing the customer experience, as well as supporting their brands for the future. We are excited to work with Verizon to see what innovative ideas this Retail Accelerator delivers, as well as bringing Digital Catapult's deep technical knowledge in 5G and our extensive network in the UK's vibrant start-up community into this novel project.”

Partner quotes:

Mark McClennon, Global Chief Information Officer at Burberry said, “Digital innovation is a cornerstone of our strategy, enabling us to create immersive online experiences that delight and inspire our customers all over the world. We are excited to partner with Verizon and Digital Catapult - two leading companies who embody our values of creativity and forward-thinking - to unearth the next wave of digital innovation through the Retail Accelerator program.”

Benni Lickfett, Global Head of Digital Innovation at Diageo said: “We are constantly exploring how emerging technologies can enable more meaningful experiences for our consumers and the retail accelerator program is a great way to collaborate with leading technology pioneers to do just that.”

Mark Apter, L’Oréal UK & Ireland said: “Creating innovative ways of engaging with our customers is always a priority for us, and 5G can help us keep our audiences connected and engaged. We have already seen the possibilities of technology such as virtual make-up try-on services, so I’m looking forward to seeing what new ideas are out there which can test the boundaries of connected experiences.”


Notes to editors -- Burberry, Diageo and L’Oréal challenge participants to solve real-life business problems

Interested applicants may apply via the individual links for each specific challenge listed below. The program will run for approx. 10 months.

Challenge 1: Burberry

Established in 1856, Burberry is an iconic luxury British brand. As a leader in innovation, Burberry is interested in exploring technologies that will galvanize customers and elevate their experience whether shopping at their flagship store in Regent Street or at home.

The Challenge: How can Burberry use 5G technology to develop solutions that; produce compelling personalized brand stories, create customized shopping experiences with a hybrid digital/physical element and explore the potential of gamified shareable experiences that engage and drive brand loyalty?

Areas of Interest: How can 5G technology enhance the in-store to digital shopping experience in a personalized and social way? How might gamified experiences be used to engage consumers more deeply with the Burberry brand over 5G? Click here to learn more about luxury’s first social retail store in Shenzhen.

Burberry is looking for exciting proposals that engage luxury fashion consumers in bold new ways with its brand and product range.

For the Burberry challenge please apply here.

Challenge 2: Diageo

Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands across spirits and beer – a business built on the principles and foundations laid by the giants of the industry. Its ambition is to be one of the best performing, most trusted and respected consumer products companies in the world.

Brand experiences have the power to evoke emotional and behavioural responses to brands and products. Technology is enabling people to experience Diageo’s brand in new ways and how the brands tell their stories.

The challenge: As lockdown restrictions begin to ease consumers are looking for more meaningful and rewarding experiences for their next social gatherings. In the 3rd space, such as bars and pubs, how can 5G equip Diageo brands to stand out and win the first drink of the night with an experience that is unique, rewarding and meaningful? How can Diageo use 5G technology to reach customers and consumers, aiding with the discovery of their products through frictionless experiences and improved engagement?

Key considerations:

  • Solution will need to be flexible to fit into various environments and transferable to then scale.

  • Require little to minimal integration with existing table ordering/ menu solution

  • Consider message of drinking responsibly and in moderation

Diageo is looking for exciting proposals that engage customers and consumers in novel and creative ways with its world leading brands.

For the Diageo challenge please apply here.

Challenge 3: L’Oréal

At L’Oréal, the goal is to offer each and every person around the world the best of beauty in terms of quality, efficacy and safety in a sustainable way. Working with Verizon and Digital Catapult, L’Oréal UK and Ireland would like to explore how 5G can accelerate the use of innovative technologies.

The Challenge: L’Oréal would like to explore how to demonstrate the sustainability of their products and how the user journey from purchase to when it is recycled after use can impact our world. How can L’Oréal positively impact the customer experience journey through technology, such as 5G, creating ‘wow’ moments and engaging consumers to test, try and experience their brands and product range from anywhere?

For the L’Oréal challenge please apply here.

“The pandemic has demonstrated the transformational impact technology can have on our ability to adapt to periods of uncertainty...The quicker people are able to integrate technology across their organization, the easier their business will adapt to new trends. The Verizon 5G Immersive Retail Accelerator Program embraces the power of 5G, and promises to transform the customer experience through a range of innovative technologies, including immersive experience, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.”

Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business

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