Decathlon adapts to "new Covid normality" using IoT

Decathlon, a leading sports retailer, is putting digital innovation at the head of its priority list to help transform its customers' experience and internal efficiency. The worldwide chain has turned to LoRaWAN technology and adopted an efficient IoT Entrance Monitoring solution in Belgium to make sure their stores don’t exceed the number of people recommended by health authorities during Covid times. 

Decathlon’s stores in Belgium felt the need to evolve during these pandemic times to offer a safer and more gratifying customer experience. 25 of their stores out of 37 in Belgium can now detect when maximum capacity is being reached through IoT devices and movement maps developed throughout the shop, also making it possible to visualize traffic in different areas through heat maps and differentiate most-used routes and even potential cross-selling between departments. This automated solution is provided by Proximus, and based on LoRaWAN network, technology powered by Actility. 

On a display, visitors can see how many people are in the store. Some stores choose a color code and work with green, orange or red to give an overview of the busy periods of the previous week. This way the customer sees at one glance how busy it is at any time of the day or week. As an extra option, this wireless technology even makes possible to analyze how long an average store visit lasts, using Wi-Fi sensors. 


A low-cost solution offering high-value advantages 

The Smart Entrance Monitoring Solution is a device based on the automatic monitorization of the flow of visitors to a store. Through a wireless multidirectional IoT sensor placed at the entrance or exit of the store, connected to a LoRaWAN technology network, the IoT device can detect people entering or leaving, bearing in mind an authorized maximum of 600 people for every 8.000 m2 is allowed in shops in this country and can indicate if the next customer can enter or not through a screen displayed at the entrance of the store. Without this technology, it is very difficult for large retail operators like Decathlon to know if security measures are being respected in such a large range area.

Decathlon now wirelessly monitors the flow of visitors in store depending on a maximum authorized number that is calculated based on sales areas. Decathlon stores know that, for example, the average store visit time is 31 minutes, leading to the need to optimize the presence of employees and different products and services in different areas. 

This solution not only helps maintain covid risk at a minimum, but also allows large retail operators like Decathlon to know if health security measures are being respected at each store, with the option to check past data and power new measures based on real insights.

LoRaWAN® technology is a widely used wireless protocol that allows battery-operated devices to communicate with IoT applications via long-range, wireless connections, allowing longer battery life devices, thus lowering the cost of device ownership. LoRaWAN® is especially useful in large-scale deployments because of its availability, cost, and reach, due to its use of unlicensed spectrum, the availability of standardized, low-cost modules with long battery life. Actility provides the LoRaWAN® network server and a highly reliable and advanced IoT platform for network management – ThingPark™, is already powering the vast majority (over 50) of the public nationwide LoRaWAN® deployments and hundreds of companies worldwide.  


The power of data 

For a leading company like Decathlon, information is crucial to define their strategy, and logistics, take care of their environmental responsibility, and to offer the best range of services to their customers. 

Dealing with a high-demand industry, where new players and applications appear constantly, generates the need in already consolidated brands to get better prepared and develop new areas of their business, like Decathlon’s latest “Click & Collect”, or their previously mentioned IoT solutions and devices.

The chain has also developed other solutions to collect different types of data through IoT sensors, like a movement detector which allows visualizing traffic in different areas of the store through heat maps. A good example of IoT being put to work for the benefit of consumers, as it allows store managers to simplify store routes, and make their site easier for their clients. 

The future is already here 

Decathlon is currently working on new technology advances for their stores in Belgium like electronic self-labeling, to simplify price changes, allowing information to be centralized, managed, and sent to digital labels in stores in a wireless manner, or their latest DX Store, Decathlon’s concept store, which is being developed in France, and will be a mix between a boutique and a showroom where all technological innovations will be tested and improved. 

Decathlon’s is just one of many examples of how brands are moving forward through the data offered by their stores and shows how this high-value information can be recollected and used through minimal costs and operational changes. 

Deploy your own solution 

Thanks to ThingPark Market hundreds of devices are available with one simple click. Our marketplace offers a wide selection of IoT solutions, starter kits, and LoRaWAN gateways to start your own project and, if you are interested in setting up a similar solution to Decathlon’s, or you are worried about complying with the sanitary recommendations for Covid, here you have some compatible with LoRaWAN options which you might find useful: 

  • Polysense Dual Ir Bi-Directional Counter Smart Sensor, Difuse Reflection: This wireless solution has a high-sensitivity and accuracy bidirectional people counting sensor for retail stores, fast restaurants, SMB buildings, shopping malls, labs, sport facilities, manufacturing product line, and many other large space applications. It allows counting the exact numbers of people or objects (like bottles on assembly lines, for example) to enter or exit a certain area. 
  • Xterconnect Indoor Presence Sensor: This LoRaWAN connected sensor is a battery-powered passive infrared PIR movement detector, ideally suited for a wide range of applications for smart buildings, smart homes and smart security. Detect unscheduled presence in meeting rooms, between cleaning staff, or maintenance technicians, and keep aware of the usage and disinfection of different work areas. This sensor offers the possibility of receiving alerts, temperature measurements, and LoRA® geolocation on the XterMobile application, available on iOS and Android stores. 
  • Netop LoRaWAN Open-Close Door Sensor: a long-range wireless solution which can be used for opened/closed applications that provide information on the status of doors, windows, cabinets, etc. This device allows monitoring entrance into security rooms which aren’t not allowed, or alerts if a door or window has been left open. 
  • The Actility IoT Indoor Air Quality Monitoring Starter Kit also offers help when it comes to keeping within Covid regulations. This LoRaWAN solution is focused on creating safer and healthier indoor environments, protecting students, and workers, and meeting air quality regulation levels through means of controlling and monitoring CO2 levels and people's presence. 
  • Actility Passage Monitoring Evaluation Kit: count people's traffic in order to see the bigger picture of what is going on at your location. Whether you are a shopping center, retail chain, museum, library, bank, restaurant or otherwise, passage calculation data will help you make well-informed decisions about your business. 
  • IoT Workspace Management solution: created in partnership with, Skiply, Ufispace, Actility, Parametric, and Vertical M2M, is used to help management unites from all sectors to monitor multiple operations simultaneously and drive new insights thanks to the data provided by our smart sensors. This solution offers a wide range of automation opportunities, improving the productivity of the entire team, reducing operational spending and optimizing business outcomes. 

In this blog, we have just presented a few LoRaWAN examples which are already helping to secure and protect many public areas from Covid. At Actility we keep a constant track of all the latest solutions related to this use case, while including the best ones in our ThingPark Market offer, to make it easy to access cutting edge solutions that will efficiently help in any use case.  

Stay tuned for our next blog as we will continue working on offering the latest news and market updates on everything related to LoRaWAN.