This morning we attended the opening of Silab. Behind this mysterious name is the leading European center for retail innovation: it stands for Shopping Innovation Lab. We took a tour and listened carefully to the presentation by Jean-Luc Souflet, President of the Shopping Innovation Lab and the elected officials also present. Here’s our report.
What is Silab?
Sponsored by the Picom (pôle des industries du commerce) retail business cluster, the Shopping Innovation Lab provides businesses with research and a space for development, simulation, testing and evaluation for innovative solutions and consumer-focused services.
Okay, so it’s a lab for the retail of the future.
Exactly. It will be available to anyone who wants to develop innovative solutions for services related to the retail trade.
Silab offers two floors and 900 m2 in the center of the Euratechnologies IT cluster.
What does it look like inside?
Upon entering the Shopping Innovation Lab, you’ll see several areas made available to clients for their projects.
On the first floor, the “Showcase” is eye catching. Immediately to the right of the entrance, you enter an area where 26 showcases present the innovative retail services of tomorrow. The offerings include Sweetcake 3D that enables businesses to experiment with new uses for 3D printing to customize culinary products. Then there’s Ultra Wide Band that lets clients precisely geolocate products in a store to assist their clients while they do their shopping.
Next, our visit led to the immersive virtual 3D reality space. It virtually recreates business environments using four sides that are 2.5 x 4 meters each and reconfigurable as a giant screen (developed by Dassault Systèmes).
The “Store” space shows off the most modern point of sale system, a holographic projector and a ton of equipment sporting the latest technology (connected objects, biometric devices and more).
Now, we get to the 2nd floor and the “Home” area. In this space, we find the perfect equipment for the connected home: tablets, a smart TV and even a connected piggy bank—it’s all here! This space allows for testing under real conditions with a unique combination of leading high-tech equipment and highly skilled expertise, providing true value added.
We continue our adventure at the “Shopping Innovation Day” area by Picom. This space highlights the expertise of 14 SMEs and labs, both French and European. The next exhibit in this space will showcase the Picom accelerator, Retail Boost.
The “Codesign” space is set up for collaborative work and equipped with a wall of tactile images, a device for analyzing emotions, a video and audio conferencing system and video controllers.
Personalizing interactions with clients, encouraging sharing so that shopping is once again an enjoyable time spent with friends or family—the Shopping Innovation Lab in Lille is putting social back into the heart of retail commerce. This initiative positions Lille as one of the leading places to be to learn about the retail industry of tomorrow. It’s an attractive place for companies in search of innovation.
Whether you’re a merchant, a retailer or involved in a related activity, Silab is there for you! Louisa Keil is ready to share everything you need to know to take your project to the next level. She’s all ears!