The Future of Retail Over The Next Five Years, With Dheeraj Remella, Chief Product Officer at VoltDB

At the risk of sounding cliché, I have to say we live in a very interesting time in the history of humanity. Technological advancements have led to new business models and new ways to interact with customers. 5G, Fixed Wireless, Enterprise 5G, near-edge computing, private LTE/5G, sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning are all going […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

At the risk of sounding cliché, I have to say we live in a very interesting time in the history of humanity. Technological advancements have led to new business models and new ways to interact with customers. 5G, Fixed Wireless, Enterprise 5G, near-edge computing, private LTE/5G, sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning are all going to play key roles in changing the face of retail. The following are the biggest adjustments the retail industry will face:

Augmented reality and virtual reality based experiential shopping — this can span from clothing to furniture.

Smart carts that will automatically add or remove store items placed and removed from the carts.

Smarter integration with payment systems paired with in-store two factor authentication — this can save companies millions of dollars because it will negate vendors having to reconcile with credit card companies in cases of card fraud or stolen credit cards.

Automated replenishment reminders/notifications to shopper’s list on their home automation systems.

3D visual scanning to determine best fit clothes by brands and visualization without having to try the clothes on — this can save inventory for the stores from rips, tears and staining, while customers try on. Customers get to see how they will look without having to try things that were tried by others.


As part of our series about the future of retail, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dheeraj Remella the Chief Product Officer at VoltDB responsible for technical OEM partnerships and enabling customers to take their next step in data-driven decision making. Dheeraj has been instrumental in each of VoltDB’s significant customer acquisitions. He brings 22 years of experience in creating Enterprise solutions in a variety of industries. Dheeraj is a strong believer in the cross-pollination of ideas and innovation between industries and technologies. Dheeraj holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Madras University.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

The first time I saw a computer was during summer break after the tenth grade. I instantly fell in love and knew I wanted to immerse myself in technology. Nearly a decade later, I was working as a pre-sales consultant and found it satisfying to talk to customers about their unique situations, the challenges they faced, and ultimately collaborating to find solutions. Today, I am heavily involved with VoltDB’s marketing and analyst departments, where my role is to help clearly and succinctly convey the value of our product to our customer base. These three distinct segments of my career have helped me develop the skills and mindset needed to bridge the communication gap between customers, sales, marketing and engineering, with an ever-evolving vision toward the future.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

During my 20’s I was in New York trying to build a proof of concept for a media company looking to modernize their systems. I was racking my brain for three days straight and just could not get it to work. The day before the end of the engagement, I was at a loss and decided to go out for a night on the town. Funnily enough, when I woke up at 6 a.m. the next morning, the answer became crystal clear. I went to the office and implemented my new plan and everybody lived happily ever after. This taught me that sometimes you need to step away from the problem and completely disconnect. Taking a step back can often offer a much needed new point of view.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?

When I first started out, I was all about front end and middle tier development because I found them to be the most interesting challenges. I thought data was incredibly boring because this was during a time when databases were primarily used to store business state data and run reports. How wrong was I! Today, I am immersed in data and it makes up the most interesting parts of my day-to-day.

From this experience, I learned that people shouldn’t discount any one piece of the business because each piece fits into a bigger picture that makes the business successful. Most mature organizations designate specialists for each layer in the journey, from data creation, to ultimately using that data to make decisions and communicate them for automation or human consumption. No matter the division that I’ve worked in, it has been important to have an understanding of each of the business units so that work flow is never siloed and the company is truly collaborative in its success.

Are you working on any new exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?

At VoltDB, we are working on a lot of exciting projects primarily focused around making our technology easier to adopt and use. We started off as an in-memory database back in 2010, but today we are taking a more holistic approach to real-time. Now, instead of playing within a predefined stencil like database or stream processing, we are looking at the entirety of real-time needs around data handling. Our goal is to help organizations significantly reduce the time from an event to a decision and ultimately an action, all in a single solution, avoiding infrastructure sprawl.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

The most important things that help me are taking time for mindful introspection and meditation. It is amazing how much more productive I am when I take a more mindful approach; I can get so much more done and get it done well. I like to plan for the future but live in the now. This can go from simple things like being in a conversation, to solving complex architectural challenges at the office. Naturally, work-life balance occurs when you are highly efficient at your work and your life. Both meditation and mindfulness practice helps me in my life; I think it should be classified as a superpower.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Hands down, my father. From a very young age, my father helped me develop a philosophical, almost Vedic and Stoic, bent of mind. I lost my way in the middle’, youth does that to you if you are not careful. Another person that really mentored me is one of my former managers, Vijay Sashti. At one point, he and I were talking, and he asked me to email a customer with certain verbiage and I told him that these words were not part of my communication vocabulary. I still remember his words: “How are you planning to grow from where you are without changing how you do things?” This was eleven years back, but this new perspective really set me on a quest for self-improvement and personal growth.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I truly believe that what goes around comes around. If you treat someone kindly, the kindness goes around. If you treat someone with hatred, the hatred goes around. I choose every day to make compassion-driven choices and I make sure to mentor the people that seek my help.

Ok super. Now let’s jump to the main question of our interview. Can you share 5 examples of how retail companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers like to shop?

At the risk of sounding cliché, I have to say we live in a very interesting time in the history of humanity. Technological advancements have led to new business models and new ways to interact with customers. 5G, Fixed Wireless, Enterprise 5G, near-edge computing, private LTE/5G, sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning are all going to play key roles in changing the face of retail. The following are the biggest adjustments the retail industry will face:

  1. Augmented reality and virtual reality based experiential shopping — this can span from clothing to furniture.
  2. Smart carts that will automatically add or remove store items placed and removed from the carts.
  3. Smarter integration with payment systems paired with in-store two factor authentication — this can save companies millions of dollars because it will negate vendors having to reconcile with credit card companies in cases of card fraud or stolen credit cards.
  4. Automated replenishment reminders/notifications to shopper’s list on their home automation systems.
  5. 3D visual scanning to determine best fit clothes by brands and visualization without having to try the clothes on — this can save inventory for the stores from rips, tears and staining, while customers try on. Customers get to see how they will look without having to try things that were tried by others.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

There are so many things that I feel we could do better and/or different as a society. Inclusion of financial literacy to the K12 school system and developing soft skills early on to encourage respectful communications to top my list. These changes could lead to various other positive outcomes, such as global charity and economic development.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dremella/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Alex Arapov of 3DLOOK: “Be transparent about your decisions and failures”

by David Liu
Community//

Paul Patras of Net AI: “A support network”

by David Liu
Fact check about Conspiracy Theories. Photo Credit: Cases as on 21/03/2020 12:30 CET. Photo credit: The Guardian NG
Community//

5G Has Nothing To Do With a Virus

by Roshan Bhondekar
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.