T-Mobile claims that 5G and embedded payments will unlock new connected retail experiences

T-Mobile claims that 5G and embedded payments will unlock new connected retail experiences ...

We know that 5G has the finest throughput and connective capability of any standard yet conceived in its early days, but it remains somewhat abstract. That era is forming as 5G goods and experiences begin appearing in shops and homes.

Chris Melus, T-Mobile's vice president of product development and advanced wireless solutions, discussed the many ways 5G technology is either about to transform whole industries, or is already doing so.

Melus touched on everything from merchants and brands' extended reality (XR) applications to payment speed and security on new 5G networks specially constructed for these uses.

Melus believes that 5G will improve the shopping experience by dispelling consumers of that lost feeling when they need an associate but can't find one.

"It would be great if you could virtually talk with another employee at another location who may be less busy," he said. "You can have people travel all the way across the country and help a customer without having them have to wait to get there."

"They're probably a little dissatisfied with the quality of service that most physical stores have, so they don't even consider these things to be feasible," he added. "We really believe that 5G will unlock a lot of creativity in the retail space."

Learn more: Competition Highlights 5G XR Future Retail Use Cases

Unlocking Virtual Virtuosity with 5G

There are many other retail issues that 5G can alleviate, such as some of the most common frictions between buying in physical stores and not wanting to wait.

We've all experienced the agony of walking into a retail store, finding the item we desire, then looking at the long checkout line and dreading the transaction. 5G applications are a way merchants may avoid such a situation. In physical situations, the ability to authenticate customers securely adds a new dimension.

“Let them check out in the manner that they like,” he said. “If it’s with a human, great, but if it's with an avatar, fantastic, versus just going to a kiosk or even with own personal devices to check out,” an experience we'll likely expect to encounter soon.

Payments choice is prominently mentioned as a feature at the POS, with Anthony saying that having several options is critical for customers' interactions, and he sees that level of connectivity in the store as the foundation for retailers to provide new customer experiences in the future.

5G XR gives rise to unprecedented processing power, bringing to life virtual showroom experiences that outperform the relatively cumbersome online interaction of today.

"One of the concepts that we're working on right now with some retailers is having VR areas to see those things you just can't possibly put on the floor, but people still like to be able to touch and feel and walk around and look and see what they look like," said the man.

Making a 5G World

The monetization of 5G has wide applications, from healthcare to data exchange to — yes, the metaverse.

Melus explains how T-Mobile hosted a 5G XR retail challenge with Deutsche Telecom recently, from which came the "Mall of the Metaverse."

“They're planning to construct a 100-story tower with over 100 million square feet of virtual retail space to be able to come and have people walk around the area and never leave their house, but still get the full retail experience,” Melus said.

5G is already developing a supply chain, but what it will soon do makes existing applications stale by comparison. "Creating digital twins of their entire supply chain so they can anticipate choke points before they arrive" has significant supply chain implications.

Instead of receiving the message that your cargo is stuck at Long Beach, he said, "Wouldn't it be better if you could anticipate that and route an order to another important supplier so that you don't ever get stuck down in your supply chain?" It's difficult to do today with disparate networks.

Melus said early adopters of 5G are concentrated in manufacturing, logistics, and transportation; fast digital delights are coming to a store, website, and metaverse near you, as he said, "T-Mobile's 5G Advance Network Solutions is really an underpinning to be able to provide that."

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