Welcome to the future – track how much you’ve walked, how many calories you’ve burnt, tell your music system to play your favourite song, track down those lost keys, allow a robot to serve you and finally park like a professional.
The digitalized future of connected devices, digitization and automation are no longer complicated jargons, they’re words that are disrupting markets with their endless possibilities. The Internet of Things (IoT), an interconnected ecosystem of internet-enabled objects—devices, sensors, microprocessors, data hubs, networks, artificial intelligence software and analytics programs—is challenging conventional means of communication and is already a $14 billion market as of 2016.
While industries and enterprises are exploring how best IoT can be adopted, the retail industry is already ushering in an era in which “smart” things can reshape experiences and enter new markets by creating digital ecosystems. Orchestrating these diverse technologies to provide a more responsive, real-time customer experience is the goal retailers want to achieve in the next five years. According to an Accenture report on IoT in the retail industry, the IoT movement offers retailers opportunities in three critical areas: customer experience, the supply chain, and new channels and revenue streams.
As the market shows massive signs of a real breakthrough—and break out—for connected devices, companies are focusing on superior customer experiences that are non-negotiable for the successful uptake of IoT devices. IoT creates an interconnected environment where products and services are designed for, created for, and specifically centered on the individual. While consumer adoption to IoT devices is expected to rise quickly, itprovides for a great opportunity for the retailers to create personalized, real-time interaction with customers to use their mobile devices to check the inventory and find the items they need quickly and easily, both inside and outside the store.
IoT can bring systems together to optimize operations in the complex supply chain. Unlike previous generations of passive sensors, the IoT will allow a supply chain to control the external environment and execute decisions. With the IoT, sensor-embedded factory equipment not only can communicate data but also can change equipment settings and process workflow to optimize performance. It can be used to improve existing supply chain processes spanning asset utilization, warehouse space optimization or production planning or fully redesign the supply chain model. Relying on the IoT to bring greater visibility into supply chain operations to alleviate out-of-stocks and optimize selections based on customer preferences is the final goal of retailers.
And finally, retailers can unlock the full potential of the IoT to seek out new avenues of earning revenue and expanding their operations. In-store apps, sensors on home appliances linked to the store for automatic order placements are a few of many such channels retailers can explore. Retailers who readily explore these revenue streams stand to gain an advantage in this competitive environment.
Many companies like Bosch recognize the need for organizational cohesion when it comes to successfully updating retail technology. Business and IT leaders work together to identify opportunities to bring new ideas and solutions to the market. A strong base of IT teams, and a stronger tech investment is critical for a successful IoT-enabled system.