Dialogues with Gensler: Virtual Retail-ity
Virginia Pettit in Innovation, Retail, Retail, Technology

The act of shopping has become a virtual, anytime/anywhere interaction, personalized by each individual. How is this change in product engagement shaping the physical environment of the retail store? Is the bricks and mortar store an obsolete concept? Or will the need for community and shared experience create a rallying point around place in a more vital way than ever before?

Tonight in our San Francisco office - along with our partner, Terranomics — we're hosting a gathering of retailers and technology experts who'll consider answers to these and other questions. Our speakers, Rachael McBrearty from Cisco, David Marks and Alex Serriere from TEECOM Design Group, and Lara Marrero from Gensler will share their visions of a technology-transformed future where the social shopper is in control, fueled by information and ready for an authentic experience.

Our discussion will be broadcast live online at 5:30pm Pacific time, so come join us!

Rachael McBrearty Senior Director, Innovations Practice, Cisco
Had things gone just a bit differently, Rachael McBrearty could be known for her work as a painter instead of an expert designer of technology-enabled experiences. Working with the Prada and the world-renowned architect Rem Koolhaus, her team created the software for an RFID-enabled shopping experience that included interactive dressing rooms, signage and mobile solutions. McBrearty designed a RFID Center of Excellence that demonstrated how to use RFID and associated technologies could transform retail. McBrearty also created an “interactive mirror” enabling customers to get instant feedback from their friends anywhere in the world. Standing before the mirror, their image is broadcast on the Internet and feedback from friends is displayed directly on the mirror. The success of the project was enormous and was named one of Time Magazine’s “Top 100 Inventions” of 2007.

At Cisco, McBrearty specializes in the design of next-generation customer experiences by using technology to connect customers to employees and enabling real-time interactions throughout the customer journey. Under her direction, McBrearty’s team has achieved some milestone accomplishments, including the first implementation of a multi-channel remote expert, personalized interactive signage and the development of new retail services made possible through technology advances.

David A. Marks CEO & Co-Founder, TEECOM Design Group
For the past twenty years, David has focused on making computing ubiquitous and pervasive within the built environment. His firm, TEECOM Design Group, is now the largest technology systems visioning, design, project management, and research firm in the Western U.S. Prior to co-founding TEECOM, he spent eight years at The Engineering Enterprise, where he was the firm’s expert in telecommunications and security systems. His abilities in technology and systems integration were complemented during his tenure there by extensive work in power distribution for data centers and large building complexes. David and his firm have built a reputation for integrating forward thinking technology into architecture that is highly constructable, practical, and offers effective and value-based solutions for clients all over the world.

Alex Serriere Director of Research, TEECOM Design Group
As Director of Research at TEECOM, Alex lives at the cutting edge of technology. From the latest in semiconductor manufacturing to the dramatic social impact of smartphones, he has developed a knowledge base that spans the technology industry. Alex’s broad understanding of technology systems has translated into innovative ideas for the built environment that improve a facility’s efficiency, simplify designs, maximize flexibility and deliver a better experience to end users. Having started in the aerospace industry, Alex has continued to cultivate his interest in software and hardware development through a variety of professional and personal projects. Currently, he keeps abreast of industry trends and developments, meets regularly with leading technology companies to discuss their plans for the future and works with TEECOM’s engineering team to ensure our designs will be state of the art.

Lara Marrero Daily Retail Technology Consumer, Gensler
Lara is a marketing strategist focused on Gensler’s Brand Design and Retail practices. Her education in marketing and psychology, combined with a passion for shopping, allows Lara to provide unique insights into retail and ethnographic trends that apply to projects ranging from specialty retail environments to large-scale mixed-use developments. Working with Gensler’s strategy and design teams, she helps to inform the design process through research, trend analysis, and her knowledge of business, brand, and consumer needs.

Entrenched in the world of social media, Lara is constantly facebooking, linking-in, tweeting, and tumblring, sharing her thoughts on the latest retail and fashion trends with her online community. As much as she loves online shopping, nothing can stand in the way between her and her love of physical retail environments. While many stores integrate technology in their retail experiences, so does Lara! She utilizes a variety of apps on her iPhone to aid in her shopping adventures, among them Point Inside, Pic2Shop, and CardStar.

Article originally appeared on architecture and design (http://www.gensleron.com/).
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