2018 Retail Digital Transformation Grand Challenge

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Join us! Participate in the Retail Digital Transformation (DT) Grand Challenge

– Help transform retail and brand industries with new technologies

It is a pivotal time for retailers and brands both regionally and globally as they face unprecedented pressures. Challenges include intense competition and the need for speed, while integrating new technologies and methodologies for shopping. A shifting consumer base with changing brand preferences and responsiveness, and the desire for increased social responsibility creates additional challenges.

Balancing these needed advances for retailers and brands are opportunities related to their own legacy systems, antiquated supply chains, and cultural shifts related to technology.

The digital transformation that retailers and brands will need to accomplish to survive, requires new ways of creating, thinking and working with technology driven tools to provide value for their businesses and customers. This competition challenges the technology and academic community to offer up innovations and solutions to address these issues while helping build capabilities for the future of retail. The competition will focus on two approaches to these challenges, please select one:


  • End-to-end solution – build, buy and scale an easy to use, end-to-end capability that enables scan-design-simulate-model-fuse-analyze-visualize-immerse-interactive solution; includes capabilities such as:
    • Flexibility
    • Collaboration
    • Spans concept to digitization, immersion and purchase
    • Comprehends from design, to supply chain to in-store
    • Seamlessly plug & play all the different technologies anywhere along the Design-to-deploy solution flow
    • Reduces time to production or market in a faster/easier way
    • Can adapt and scale from small to mega organization
    • UX innovation such as AR/VR, AI, other, etc.
    • Security and privacy


  • Submit a solution that address one of the categories below
    • Body capture/scanning
      • Quick and easily scan customers; example: fully scan customers w/in 30 seconds
    • Digital raw materials
      • Ability to easily and seamlessly capture physical properties of fabrics and digitize them with any tool
      • Ability to easily and seamlessly build, share and extend library of customizations and incorporate into day-to-day workflow
    • Digital product creation
      • Ability to easily and seamlessly scale and automate product creation and incorporate into day-to-day workflow
    • Supply chain enhancements
      • Ability to easily and seamlessly scale from test/proto/prod; example: from one to 1,000 stores win a month
      • Ability to demonstrate changes in efficiency; example: reduces waste, better use of resources along stages of supply chain
      • Can plug-in-play one or more capabilities within the design-to-deploy solution flow
    • Customer engagement/immersion
      • Show customers interactive and immersive visualizations of garments, on themselves/other others; example: at the store w/in 30 seconds
      • Show customers that their data is secure
      • Customers can manage their data; example: can determine how/if data used
      • Customer can use their data at different locations/retailers/brands
      • Demonstrate transparency and privacy of customer data
      • Show customers that their data is secure and private
    • Other ideas?
      • Other ideas are welcome! If so, please describe and consider ease-of-use, plug-n-play, scale, expected value

Solutions will be reviewed for their relevance in the categories of:

  1. Collaboration ~ the degree and/or diversity of stakeholders that collaborate on developing the submission
  2. Social Impact ~ the extent to which the submission addresses social and environmental impacts and implications
  3. Business Impact ~ extent to which the submission addresses saving and/or making new value for customers and/or consumers
  4. Technology Impact ~ extent to which the submission delivers improvements on existing and/or new capabilities

Acceptance Process and Awards:

All submissions will be reviewed by the Retail Digital Transformation Grand Challenge judges.
  • Round 1 accepted submissions will be reviewed by judges and narrowed to semi-finalists. Semi-finalists will move forward to Round 2.  This enhanced round will require further submission of prototypes including features, capabilities and/or solutions.
  • Finalists of Round 1 will be notified via email no later than 11 April 2018 and provided specifics on the submission for Round 2.
  • Winners of Round 2 will be notified via email no later than 18 June 2018 and announced as part of PI Apparel NY to be held 19-20 June 2018. Final winners will be entitled to one free admission to PI Apparel NY, 2018; or PI Apparel Milan, 2018; PI Apparel LA, 2019; or PI Apparel HKG, 2019.

Round 1 of the Retail Digital Transformation Grand Challenge is now closed.  

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Guest Contributor

The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) is a leading consensus building organization that nurtures, develops, and advances global technologies. Providing a neutral and open platform to empower innovators across borders and disciplines, IEEE SA facilitates standards development and standards related solutions, such as technology incubation, alliance consortia formation, open source, etc. With collaborative thought leaders in more than 160 countries, we enable the collaborative exploration of emerging technologies, the identification of existing challenges and opportunities, and the development of recommendations, solutions, and technology standards that solve market-relevant problems. Collectively, we are raising the standards that benefit industry and humanity; making technology better, safer, and sustainable for the future.

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