What is your favorite feature of this two way radio long distance? In my opinion, I like the design job – Its cooler than an Inuit’s underpants!
“If I’m working with a customer in a store and I have a question about travel products, I could reach out to that expert group in real-time and get answers from somebody across the company,” Thrailkill says. “To me, that’s the real power of this being networked; it allows you to leverage the knowledge base across stores.”
Thrailkill says he considered deploying smartphones for communication, but because of the desire to avoid a distracting display, prohibitive costs and other concerns, he ultimately decided the wearable is a better fit — at least for now.
The Theatro Wearable Computer for Retail
“We’d much rather have employees engaging with customers verbally than the two of them looking at a screen together, somebody touching the screen and punching information,” Thrailkill says. “‘Heads up’ versus ‘heads down’ is how we put it.”
The simplicity of the wearable is its main advantage, according to Thrailkill.
“You’re not having to grab a device, swipe it, put in a passcode and open up an application to then be able to enter a command,” he says. “You’re just touching the device and then saying a command, and you’re able to do it right away. With how much communication we do through the stores, having a dedicated device, at least for now, is by far the best way for us to work.”
The IT setup was relatively simple, according to Thrailkill, though it did require an external company for Wi-Fi testing and access point repositioning.
“The biggest amount of work that had to be done, and it will have to be done in every store we do this, is frankly, the tuning of the connections with the two Way Radio Wi-Fi network in the store,” Thrailkill says. “Once it’s up and running, the IT team isn’t involved at all. ”
During the past nine months, The Container Store hasn’t had any significant hardware issues with the wearables, Thrailkill says. One or two have failed, but overall they have been “extremely stable for something that is a new product”.
Theatro’s Todd says the subscription price of the Theatro solution covers the cost of the wearables, as well as damage and obsolescence. Customers don’t actually pay specifically for the hardware, and the devices really shouldn’t need any sort of IT maintenance.
“If [customers] have a problem with a device, we’ll just send them a new one,” Todd says.