Internet of Things (IoT) is currently in its full swing of innovation, creativity, and hype in the technological world. Why such a hype around this old, but very recently matured, technology? Well, the reason simply being the advances made in the technological studies in the recent years has enabled us to utilize the full potential of technologies like IoT in current times. According to research done by the well-known research firm Gartner, IoT is expected to connect around 20.4 billion devices globally by the year 2020. This is almost 40% up from the current 8.4 billion connected devices around the world. But what this means for the retail industry? What will be the relationship between retail & IoT in the coming years? How will it affect you as a consumer? Let’s find it out!
A Basic Know-How of What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
For any of you who has just entered this rapidly growing industry, and or not appropriately aware of what the term “IoT” means specifically; here’s a brief introduction: IoT is the name given to the infrastructure connecting all kinds of web-enabled devices, objects, or tiny sensors to a central data/command processing unit via the Internet. All of these connected devices can easily communicate with each other, give commands, process huge amounts of data, do analytical tasks, and can even control certain functions/features.
This is something turned out to be a sci-fi true scenario where machines can learn and do things on their own as well. This is why IoT is generally synonyms with another term called M2M or machine-to-machine. Because the industry is growing on a rapid scale (as Gartner’ study has suggested in the first paragraph), IoT technology is expected to influence and impact the everyday life of humans in the next few years.
Coupled with the highly sophisticated Artificial Technology (AI) technology, experts of the technological sphere predict a new revolutionary age where machines will most probably come equally to humans (or much better in some cases) when it comes to making judgments. IoT, with all these expected developments, will surely make a huge impact on customer evolution and businesses in the next 50 years or so.
Retail & IoT: The Perfect Technological Relationship
Internet of Things, as you might have guessed by the term of M2M, is expected to open up and diversify the retail industry. What is great in all this is that it will not only benefit the businesses but the consumers around the world as well. So, what are the fruitful aspects of IoT and retail industry relationship? Let’s get to know some of the most important among them. To begin with, IoT connects and enable sensors and devices to gather/process huge amounts of data in real-time speed to a central commanding unit.
What this means for the retail industry is a greater, more customer-based personalized, rapidly automated, and highly optimized service. When you make buying and decision-making extremely helpful and easier for your customers (using data and analytical insights via the aid of IoT & Predictive Analytics), chances are higher that you will retain a customer for long while the customer him/herself enjoys such a smooth shopping experience. Let us give you a live and currently running example of how IoT is helping both the retail company and customers at the same time.
If you are into technology, let alone IoT, you might have heard about the Amazon Echo for sure. Amazon Echo is a device created by the retail giant Amazon Inc. The purpose for creating this amazing device is to assist the user at almost every ground. If you use the Amazon Echo, you will be able to play your favorite music from famous online music services, process calls to friends & family members, get updates on the current affairs and other important news, control all connected devices in your home smartly, and even call for a taxi or order a pizza. All of this is done simply by saying and asking things to the device itself. In fact, one may call Amazon Echo the most befitting digital personal assistant.
How Amazon Echo do all of this for you? It does it with the help of IoT. Amazon Echo requires a wireless internet connection to perform all of these operations. The voice commands that are given to Amazon Echo are recognized and processed on the central servers of Amazon Web Services. From there, whichever services you have asked for, the Amazon Web Services platform will send requests to those services on your behalf and connects you with them directly. All of this cannot be done without the aid of IoT technology, and thus such great customer experience will never be experienced by anyone. This whole relation of IoT & retail benefits both consumers and the corporation itself.
But this is just one of the many feats IoT is helping retail industry to achieve. Of course, there are things like smart homes, smart cities, smart appliances, smart vehicles, and the list goes on and on… Various reputable research firms have given some good and positive estimations about the upcoming days for all these above-mentioned areas. Business Insider says that by the year 2021, 94 million cars (84% for that year) will be connected to the web. And as the years will come, the “smart” initiative will gain more and more momentum. This will ultimately make a great impact on almost all retail businesses and the way consumers purchase. So, let us get ready to embrace a digitally technological future by properly educating ourselves about the good practices and proper safety measures required in a highly connected world.