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RECon Innovation Exchange showcases latest retail technologies

May 22, 2018

From robot shopping assistants, to 3-D body scans, to blockchain-based influencer technology, to same-day lease models — RECon-goers got hands-on access to the future of retail technology at the ICSC Innovation Exchange.

This showcase, in the Las Vegas Convention Center's Grand Lobby, featured the cutting-edge products of some 20 tech firms; live demos; speeches; and discussion panels. London-based Appear Here, which facilitates short-term leases for landlords and tenants, demonstrated its online marketplace and landlord dashboard, which streamlines brand research and brand matching; performance data; revenue tracking; and space availability for its landlord clients.

"Landlords can rent out space through a simple online process that cuts down lead times [of] from three to six months, to a matter of hours," said Elizabeth Layne, the company’s New York City–based marketing officer. In the big scheme, Appear Here is trying to nudge landlords to shorten deal-making time, she said. RECon gives Appear Here an international reach, "not just to shopping center landlords, but [also to] other landlords who manage space in prime retail locations in U.S. cities," Layne said.

RECon attendee Jeff McMullen, vice president of retail at Atlanta-based Richard Bowers & Co., said he stopped by the Innovation Exchange as part of his determination to stay abreast of the latest industry inventions and solutions. "The average guy has to constantly change his mind-set if he hopes to move forward with all the changes going on in this industry," McMullen said.

Menlo Park, Calif.–based Mavatar paraded its blockchain-based mCart products. This publishing platform enables influencers to promote and shoppers to search the inventory of malls, digital and hybrid  "phygital" — physical-digital — marketplaces on the web for specific products, according to co-founder and CEO Susan Akbarpour. "The future of commerce depends on closing the gap between online and offline, delivering consumer-centric, contextual, collaborative and connected commerce — or c-commerce." The product helps consumers track products they see on TV, social media or elsewhere to the online and offline stores where they are available, she said.

Among the other innovative companies: Accel Robotics, which helps companies deliver better grab-and-go commerce service through the use of robotic shopping assistants; Nobal Technologies, whose iMirror product extends e-commerce into a physical retailer's store through personalized customer experiences that integrate a catalog of online and in-store merchandise; and Size Stream, which provides body scans to create personalized 3-D avatars providing detailed measurements for customize apparel — plus insights into the ways various brands fit.

The Innovation Exchange was sponsored by Colliers Proptech Accelerator Powered by Techstars, which identifies and mentors startups in development of innovative technologies in the real estate industry. CREtech, an events, content and connectivity platform for the commercial real estate tech sector, worked with ICSC to present the exchange.

The show was designed to give REcon attendees "direct access to leading-edge ideas and entrepreneurs," said ICSC President and CEO Tom McGee. The Innovation Exchange remained open throughout the convention time.

By Steve McLinden

Contributor, Shopping Centers Today

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