Monitoring and controlling energy consumption
As part of their digital transformation, Walmart is using Internet of Things (IoT) at a scale unmatched across retail to improve food quality, lower energy consumption and keep costs low for customers.
Currently, Walmart manages more than 7 million unique IoT data points across our U.S. stores. Every day, this network of connected devices sends almost 1.5 billion messages regarding temperature, operating functions and energy use. To help manage this massive volume, the IoT team within Walmart Global Tech has built proprietary software that uses advanced algorithms to detect anomalous events in real time and take action to fix issues quickly.
Food quality is an important part of Walmart’s customer experience. Our customers depend on our stores to maintain food at the proper temperature, like keeping ice cream frozen and milk cold. Global Tech is helping our Real Estate team to ensure proper food quality through monitoring our refrigeration units with IoT systems. Our IoT application not only monitors the temperature of the individual unit to ensure proper food safety standards, but also looks at how the equipment is performing and takes proactive steps towards maintenance repairs to reduce the cost and down time caused by equipment failure.
If the signal received requires additional information, it is sent to the maintenance team through a cloud application where the team will triage the issue and determine the best course of action. That could include leveraging a store associate to take additional steps, repairing an IT connection issue, submitting a work order and getting a technician on-site to look at the unit or by making changes remotely to the equipment.
Efficiently and effectively managing energy consumption in response to internal and external factors requires constant monitoring to make adjustments without impacting the customer experience. We’re able to use IoT sensors on our stores’ HVAC and energy systems to remotely monitor and respond to community energy consumption needs quickly and with minimal impact to our customers’ shopping experience.
Through the use of a solution called ‘Demand Response’ we can reduce energy consumption to any of our U.S. stores for a set amount of time and then have systems in place to automatically return our equipment back to the normal operating standards. What this means is that we can lower energy use anywhere in the U.S. by region or an individual store. This allows us to reduce energy consumption and lower utility costs all without impacting the customer experience.