Eastgate to host innovation centre

UK’s first Digital Retail Innovation Centre to be opened in Gloucester.

The UK Digital Retail innovation Centre (UK:DRIC) will be based on the first floor of the Eastgate shopping centre in Gloucester for an initial period of three years.

It aims to become the national centre for testing and developing disruptive digital innovations that will help shape and inform the future of cities with a special focus on retail. Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, GFirst LEP has approved a funding award of £400,000 to Marketing Gloucester to operate the centre.

The UK:DRIC promises to be a showcase and testbed for the latest retail technologies and could show off some future innovations such as holographic “virtual employees”, artificial intelligence, 3D scanning and printing of products, drone deliveries, robotic security guards, 360 virtual mirrors and near field communication.

Jason Smith, chief executive of Marketing Gloucester said: “This is a huge opportunity for Gloucester to progress in our ambition to be a showcase and testbed for digital technologies, developing the city of 2050 by 2025. There are huge challenges facing the UK retail sector and the UK Digital Retail Innovation Centre has the potential to be a gamechanger which could have a national impact, we greatly appreciate the investment from GFirst LEP.”

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