Business Insider’s research arm, Business Intelligence, recently published a presentation that highlights five top digital trends for 2016. In it, they identify the Internet of Things as the next industrial revolution of our era. According to the BI’s research, B2B investment in IoT solutions is slated to grow to more than $3 trillion over the next five years, and touch virtually every industry from oil and gas to healthcare, manufacturing, insurance and of course — retail.
We’ve been watching from the trenches as IoT has trickled into mainstream retail, and evolved to become not only a competitive advantage — but also the backbone behind many daily operations.
The presentation calls out beacons as an emerging IoT technology that’s gaining traction with retailers; however, beacons represent only a segment of Internet of Things technologies that are being implemented by brick-and-mortar businesses. When gauging the total role that IoT plays for retail (or any other industry), it’s necessary to inventory all of the connected devices that are gathering data and contributing to a better in-store experience.
In many cases, these technologies may have been sitting in our favorite shops since before IoT became a buzzword – and with the adoption of new products and technologies, they are now coming together to form the IoT networks that we see today.
It’s at the core of what we do here at Prism: Taking video cameras that tend to hang dormant from the ceiling to dissuade potential shoplifters, and through cloud-based software, turning these devices into a privacy-protected platform for the gathering and analysis of customer behavior and product engagement.
The true potential of the Internet of Things does not reside within a single device or innovation, but in the collaborative power of multiple solutions that come together to solve big problems and shed light on complex situations.
It’s easy to imagine how with a solution like Prism, where users have the ability to pinpoint the level of interaction received by specific products, and then compare across all merchandise within a store – that opportunities can be identified to improve the accessibility of different items. However, when Prism data is positioned alongside other data — like point of sale — entirely new details emerge that reveal more than just what people are engaging with, but why they are making the purchasing decisions that they choose to make.
For retailers, these networks of devices mean a better understanding of customers, staff and the activity that takes place within stores — which translates to insights around customer behavior, finding opportunities for greater efficiency, and ultimately creating a better brand experience.
While IoT will no doubt drive billions of dollars in retail sales through more targeted marketing and efficient operations, the true value of this technology trend will ultimately be evaluated by the problems that have been solved and the businesses that have found success by fully tapping into their data.