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In-store wireless is critical for more than customer engagement and satisfaction. To leverage all the potentially valuable data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT), retail IT departments must manage and support a robust wireless network to connect sensors and other data sources.

These include RFID tags that monitor in-store stock and connect to key systems in the retailer’s data center to enable inventory and supply-chain optimization. Retailers also must support mobile point-of-sale systems, which help store associates access up-to-date customer information from key back-end data sources so they can provide better service and process payments anywhere in the store.

Stores can further boost customer satisfaction by using wirelessly connected Bluetooth beacons, taking advantage of geolocation technologies to send personalized messages to a customer’s smartphone when they enter a store, alerting them to promotions or delivering digital coupons tailored to their needs.

Software-defined networking (SDN) helps retailers address their security and compliance concerns by extending data center policies to their stores, but that’s just the beginning of what it brings to the table.