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IBM expands retail development locations


IBM aims to increase the solutions and services it offers the retail industry with two new centers. On Sept. 24, IBM opened a new global headquarters for IBM Commerce and new hub for its Watson artificial intelligence platform in San Francisco.

In addition, IBM is partnering with The Fung Group on a new large-scale laboratory for rapid experimentation with omnichannel retail technologies, which opened in Shanghai, China on Sept. 24.

At the San Francisco center, IBM will collaborate with local start-ups, developers, venture capital groups, established businesses and academic experts. IBM will also deliver and develop new integrations of Watson solutions with IBM Commerce retail applications.

The Shanghai lab, named “Explorium,” is an omnichannel platform and exhibition with nearly 250,000-sq.-ft. of trade exhibition space. Explorium provides a controlled setting for businesses to observe in real time how consumers interact with new retail technologies, products and environments.

Among technologies in the laboratory, which has been functioning on a soft-opening basis for three months, are virtual-reality fitting rooms, “magic mirrors” with realistic images, and 3D printing for creating customized products. Retailers are also using it to test different store concepts.

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