Guest Column | February 19, 2015

How The IoT Will Transform Retail

By Debbie Simurda, Director Business Development, Mainstreet Inc.

6 IoT Predictions For 2015

The Internet of Things (IoT), or to use the term coined by major contributor Cisco, the Internet of Everything (IoE) will have far-reaching impacts on retail, as well as any industry that it touches.  The distinction is the IoT is connecting devices, similar to an intranet whereas the IoE is connecting networks, companies, consumers — thus “everything.” 

Much like the early 1990s when the Internet itself began to extend into mainstream culture, IoT’s virtually limitless applications make it difficult to fully comprehend what those impacts might be, although we do know it has the promise to revolutionize how we live our lives, communicate, shop, and conduct business.

Since the widespread adoption of smartphones in our everyday lives, technology and changing consumer shopping behaviors have disrupted the traditional retail model.  “Always connected” consumers demand more options, personalization and a richer shopping experience. As consumers demand a more convenient, hyper-relevant shopping experience the power of IoT enables retailers to engage shoppers with innovations fueled by mobility, video, and analytics.   

The IoT At-A-Glance

At its most basic, connected, low-cost sensors make the IoT possible by monitoring the physical world (i.e., temperature, pressure, motion, proximity to something else, etc.).  But they are only one component in the IoT’s complex ecosystem. Aggregation, relationship, and analysis of the vast quantities of the information these devices produce is essential to create meaningful actions. Companies that focus on the integration, analysis, value-add and actionable processes using this data are expected to be the most successful in the IoT arena. 

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