GameStop (NYSE: GME) announced today the launch of the GameStop Technology Institute (GTI), a new business unit focused on improving interactions between shoppers and stores via technology.
Joining GameStop as founding partners of GTI are IBM and the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University's Mays Business School. GameStop intends to leverage GTI to build research and development processes to create and implement the next generation of new, innovative business applications that can be implemented inside retail stores.
"Now more than ever, GameStop's internal rate of change must continue to exceed the rate of change occurring within the retail environments in which we compete," said Paul Raines, chief executive officer for GameStop. "The launch of GTI represents GameStop's commitment to cultivate innovation within the retail industry, as well as lead the charge in discovering new technology advancements to drive positive customer experiences."
IBM will bring to GTI its cloud development experience, and design expertise from the IBM Design Lab. GameStop will leverage IBM's open cloud development platform, BlueMix, to build new mobile and cloud applications that integrate with GameStop's existing systems, creating a hybrid cloud environment that will allow GameStop to add greater context around both in-store and online customer interactions.
By seamlessly linking a customer's online and in-store experiences using IBM's open-standards based, cloud platform, GameStop will be able to remove the complexity involved with transactions. BlueMix enables GameStop developers to quickly innovate, prototype and connect with their customers at the right time using APIs for big data, analytics and mobile.
"This cloud partnership will integrate existing systems into a new class of applications to build even deeper relationships for GameStop with their clients and will help GameStop lead the next phase of retailing by restoring the balance between physical and digital commerce platforms," said Steve Robinson, general manager, IBM Cloud Platform Services.
Texas A&M University and its Center for Retailing Studies brings to GTI a specific focus on retail research, consumer technology and the evolving consumer experience at the intersection of the two.
Executives from every retail sector are trying to anticipate what next innovative technology, mobile app, or virtual store experience will win in today's modern retail environment. According to the global 'Understanding Leading Merchants' survey conducted by IBM's Center for Applied Insights, 83 percent of the 325 senior-level retail merchants who responded indicated they were concerned about how to respond to the shifts in the way customers engage with retailers. In the same survey, 78 percent worried about being able to provide a holistic, cross-channel experience.
The GTI R&D portfolio will include a focus on enhancing consumer interaction technologies and developing business solutions that help drive traffic to all retail channels.
GameStop CIO, Jeff Donaldson will chair the direction and efforts of the institute, serving in the role of senior VP of GTI.
"As GameStop continues to transform its business beyond video gaming and into the technology space, we formed GTI to address our growing need for new innovation as a specialty retailer," said Donaldson. "As we begin our partnership with IBM and Texas A&M University, GTI's initial focus will be on the digitization of the physical retail space which would allow customers to interact with the brick-n-mortar store environment in ways that mimic interaction with digital platforms."
Retailers are launching technology incubators to develop solutions for the increasingly digital retail environment. In February, Target launched an accelerator program to develop new apps and U.K.-based John Lewis announced JLAB, a partnership to identify and develop technology innovations that will provide the retailer with future strategic advantages with customers' needs at the core of each idea.
-See this GameStop press release
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