KPS Global® is in a unique position to identify trends happening in the cold storage industry with the potential to have a profound impact on businesses. That means it’s critically important to examine what these trends are, how they might evolve, and most importantly, how they will impact organizations in 2020 and beyond. Specifically, KPS Global is consistently talking to customers about online grocery fulfillment, sustainability, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Online Grocery Pickup (OGP)
Online grocery shopping sales are growing rapidly and are estimated to reach almost $30 billion by 2021. Clearly, consumers want the convenience of ordering their groceries on their computer or smartphone and having them delivered or pick them up at their local supermarket or retailer. However, no clear solution has emerged. Many retailers aren’t in the OGP game at all, while others, like Wal-Mart, are trying out various kinds of robotics. This trend is so new, in fact, that the industry hasn’t even settled on a single name. At recent conferences, we heard the terms Click & Collect, OGP, BOPUS, Curbside, eCommerce, and Grocery Fulfillment all used to describe this technology.
What is clear, however, is that walk-in freezers and coolers will play an integral role in fulfillment. For example, Takeoff Technologies recently launched the world’s first robotic supermarket in partnership with one of the largest Hispanic grocers in the US, Sedano’s Supermarkets. And when Takeoff recently presented this automation showcased their Knapp robotics in a KPS Global cooler. Takeoff also gave a more in-depth presentation at Groceryshop, the leading event for grocery and CPG innovation, solution at the Food Marketing Institute’s Energy and Store Development Conference, they inside an IMAX theater dome. Other automation and technology companies featuring cutting-edge automation solutions at Groceryshop included Alert Innovations, CommonsenseRobotics (now Fabric), and Bell and Howell. Autostore and Ocado also showcased their systems, which work off a grid system rather than by rows. KPS Global partners with technology providers to deliver solutions that helps retailers with their OGP offering. Learn more about Online Grocery Pickup.
With the need to reduce waste and reduce global warming potential (GwP), sustainability is a topic that is sure to be in the news for years to come. Much of KPSG’s R&D effort has been focused on this critical area. One of the most exciting developments was our recent introduction of FUSIONFRAME® to the industry. FUSIONFRAME provides a thermally efficient alternative to wood frames by incorporating a high-performing polyurethane insulating tongue-and-groove component with a structural element embedded in it.
KPSG is also converting to HFO blowing agents, short for hydrofluoroolefins, a new class of blowing agents to replace HFCs, or hydrofluorocarbons. Learn more in our latest blog or in this infographic.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The technological advancement known as 5G is about to change everything. A speaker at the Food Marketing Institute conference outlined the progress of cellular network technology this way: 1G brought us audio, 2G brought messaging, 3G gave us browsing, and 4G (where we are now) brought us the world of apps. The next leap forward, 5G, is like 4G on steroids, with speeds up to 100 times faster than current technology.
Even more exciting than higher speeds, though, is the increased capabilities that 5G will make possible. In partnership with Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G will make the Store of the Future a reality. Retailers will be able to employ a number of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, and even robotics to enhance the shopper experience.
The advent of 5G also opens the door for the Internet of Things, or IoT. For our industry, IoT provides next-level monitoring capabilities. For example, tracking a sensor on a door using IoT technology uses just one-quarter of the data required to send a text message. IoT can be used to control thermostats dedicated to different climate zones, decrease frost cycles, alert employees and managers immediately of equipment failures to mitigate food loss and collect and store temperatures electronically to highlight trends and indicate necessary maintenance or repairs. Learn more about IoT Connectivity Solutions for Cold Storage.
KPS Global® Can Help No Matter What the Future Brings
KPS Global® is the industry-leading manufacturer of walk-in coolers and freezers along with insulated panel systems. We are working with retailers and technology partners in OGP and IoT solutions and driving innovation in the industry. If you have any questions about any of these trends, please contact us.