It is a pivotal time for both regional and global retailers and brands as they face unprecedented pressures including: intensifying competition; an increasing need for speed; a shifting consumer base with changing brand preferences and responsiveness; a desire for increased social responsibility; and the requirement of new shopping technology and methodology integration.

Balancing all of these much-needed advances is a big challenge, but also an opportunity relating to legacy systems, antiquated supply chains, cultural shifts and technology.

The digital transformation that retailers and brands will need to embrace to survive, requires new ways of creating, thinking and working with technology-driven tools to provide value for their businesses and customers. Which leads us well onto the Grand Challenge itself

What is the Grand Challenge?

We are launching this initiative to challenge the technology and academic community to offer up innovations and solutions to address these issues whilst also helping build capabilities for the future of retail. We ask that all applicants present a technical solution for a retail/brand digital transformation application. The model must include either an end-to-end solution or a feature-level solution. When designing your project please be sure you take into account the following:

  • Understand the problem that your solution will solve for retailers and brands
  • Understand who will be the users of the technology
  • Present a detail record of how the users would use the technology

What are the entry types?

Entry Option 1:

Create an End-to-End Solution – build, buy and scale an easy to use, end-to-end capability that enables a scan-design-simulate-model-fuse-analyze-visualize-immerse-interactive solution; includes capabilities such as:

  • Flexibility
  • Collaboration
  • Spans concept to digitization, immersion and purchase
  • Comprehension from design to supply chain to in-store
  • Seamlessly plug and play all the different technologies anywhere along the Design-to-Deploy solution flow
  • Reduces time to production or market in a faster/easier way
  • Can adapt and scale from small to mega organization
  • UX innovation such as AR/VR, AI, other, etc
Entry Option 2:

Create a feature-level solution – build, buy and scale a slice within the end-to-end stack; includes capabilities such as:

Body Capture/Scanning
  • quick and easily scan customers; for example, fully scan customers within 30 seconds
Digital Raw Materials
  • ability to easily and seamlessly capture physical properties of fabrics and digitize them with any tool
  • ability to easily and seamlessly build, share and extend library of customizations and incorporate into day-to-day workflow
Digital Product Creation
  • ability to easily and seamlessly scale and automate product creation and incorporate into day-to-day workflow
Supply Chain Enhancements
  • ability to easily and seamlessly scale from test/proto/prod; for example from 1 to 1,000 stores within a month
  • ability to demonstrate changes in efficiency; for example reduce waste and better use resources along supply chain stages
  • can plug-and-play one or more capabilities within the design-to-deploy solution flow;
Customer Engagement/Immersion
  • Show customers interactive and immersive visualizations of garments on themselves and/or others; for example at the store within 30 seconds
  • Show customers that their data is secure
  • Enable customers to manage their data; for example they can determine how, what and if data is used
  • Enable customers to use their data at different locations/retailers/brands
  • Demonstrate transparency and privacy of customer data;

Other ideas?

Other ideas are welcome and you’ll be encouraged to describe and consider ease-of-use, plug-n-play, scale and expected value

The Grand Challenge sponsors, namely PI Apparel, the 3DRC and IEEE are excited to announce that this is now open. To learn more about this challenge, including categories and how to submit a proposal, please visit