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EuraTechnologies to host retail lab of the future

22 Apr 2014 | A region on the move, ICT

Lille Region’s new Shopping Innovation Lab (Silab) will use new technologies and the Internet to anticipate retail trends, offering a shared laboratory that companies can use to test the innovations that tomorrow’s consumers will demand.

Lille Region - Euratechnologies - PICOM - Shopping Innovation Lab

Creating tomorrow’s retail environment

Europe’s first dedicated center for retail innovation will soon be a part of EuraTechnologies, Lille’s center of excellence for new technologies. Backed by the Picom competitiveness cluster in partnership with some ten distribution and tech companies (including Auchan, HTM Group, IDGroup, Leroy Merlin, 3SI, Atos Wordline, Keyneosoft and Orange), the initiative also has support from institutions and research labs such as Inria and Lille 1 University. According to Picom President Jean-Luc Souflet, Silab is designed to “accelerate innovative retail projects and enrich the region’s network of innovative tech companies.”
For François Laveissière of Auchan France, companies like his will benefit from “having a real facility for running hands-on experiments as well as a resource for stepping up the pace of innovation.”

When complete, Silab will be a wide-ranging resource center offering three units for development and experimentation, a retail practices lab, and demonstration technology.  These tools will be made available to researchers, companies and other players throughout the sector, with the goal of pooling resources to spark innovation and create the retail environment of tomorrow.

Making Lille Region the Silicon Valley of retail

The Shopping Innovation Lab will be an innovation “factory”—the only one of its kind in Europe—designed to attract companies from outside the region and to strengthen Lille Region’s position as a leader in connected retail. It will also help position Northern France as the Silicon Valley of retail sales and distribution. The new facility expects its services to bring in annual sales of €6.5 million.

Services could include conducting studies of data linked to customer behavior and the customer journey, enabling companies to forecast the buying experience more effectively. The new facility will also include an augmented reality showroom that can be used to test various types of décor, in addition to cutting-edge technology and an augmented reality showroom “cave”—an immersion space that will provide full-scale 3D simulations of retail settings and simulate consumer behavior and practices.

The public and private sectors have joined forces to support Silab, which will cost €4 million over ten years. The project has been selected for funding under France’s Programme d’investissement d’avenir (PIA), and the new facility will be up and running by the end of 2015, occupying 1,000 sq m of renovated space in the Place building near the original EuraTechnologies building.
Picom expects to generate €30 million worth of services over ten years—an ambitious goal backed by a regional ecosystem that includes many leading companies.


Source: PICOM – La Voix du Nord

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