EV Charging Solution Aims to Supercharge Retail Traffic

EOS Linx has built a connected, intelligent digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising and EV charging station solution that has an appealing caveat: it is free to install and can generate revenue from ads streaming on its digital screen. The solution is targeted at a wide variety of public and private entities, including municipalities, retailers, hotels, and utilities.

 

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Retailers often go to great lengths to attract and engage customers. But sometimes sticking a giant inflatable gorilla in the parking lot isn’t the best way to attract people to a business. That’s when they begin to look for smart technological solutions, especially ones that can drive additional foot traffic to a storefront.

One new-generation solution that has the power to attract people to a shared retail area is an electric vehicle (EV) charging station. EV stations provide a smart way to pull customers into a retail development or mall parking lot. While the drivers wait for their batteries to fill, they will likely do a bit of shopping or grab a meal.

The Atlanta Retailers Association, which is a convenience store association with nearly 1,000 members, notes that the need for EV charging stations has been suddenly thrust into the spotlight. Demand for renewable energy and electric vehicles is on the increase, as cities and states have been steadily rolling out ambitious sustainability goals. Consequently, retailers, hotels, and shopping center developers are starting to show interest in the opportunity to add EV stations, which can attract customers and boost foot traffic. 

A Sidewalk Data Center Powerhouse

One of the challenges for retailers to install EV charging stations at the storefront is that they have traditionally been too expensive to set up, connect, and manage. That’s why start-up EOS Linx decided to take a new approach: combine an EV charging station with a solar-powered customizable digital display. The result is a free-to-install charger that can fund itself through digital advertising.

The EOS Linx EV Charger begins with a platform that allows operators to layer additional services and features in a modular way, one of the major tenets of smart-city design. Each EOS Charge Station includes multiple EV charging sockets, data analytics tools, and an option to add an AI security component. 

The EOS Linx EV Charging solution includes 75" Ultrabright LG-MRI BoldVu® displays that are paired with Intel® vPro™ processors. Powered by solar, the display is engineered for high visibility and engagement opportunities. This sidewalk data center allows retailers to supplement their technology investment with advertising messages. The platform connects to the cloud through 5G mesh technology.

The connected solution relies on Intel® technology, including the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ Toolkit, which contributes to faster deployment in the market. “We’re able to use Intel’s reference architectures rather than reinventing the wheel,” explains Jeff Hutchins, Chief Information Officer at EOS Linx.

Stores can use the EV charger to help drive foot traffic, with the option to add applications over time. For example, they can choose to add AI-powered security features that vary according to property owners’ needs. These include the ability to deter loiterers and tampering by providing 24/7 monitoring and real-time alerts to security personnel. 

The EV charging stations are GPS pinned, which makes them easy for drivers to locate. While in use, DOOH advertising is featured on the digital displays. The system can provide hyper-local targeting options for advertising and has reporting capabilities. 

Powering Up in Atlanta

The Atlanta Retailers Association recently entered into an agreement with EOS Linx to install EV charging stations at select locations in the Atlanta area. Also in place is an affiliation with the Georgia EV Make-Ready Program, providing communities with incentives for development of EV infrastructure and equipment in conjunction with local utilities.

EOS Linx has also announced a partnership with convenience store cooperative Independent Buyers' Co-Op (IBC) to install EOS Charge Stations at select member stores across the south. IBC's 6,000-plus members, many of which are located in rural areas, will help extend EV charging availability to more communities. EOS plans to prioritize IBC locations in Tennessee, Texas, and Florida, then expand into other markets.

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