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IoT in retail – not just another buzzword

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Everything suggests that the internet of things has the potential to revolutionise the way we work, rest and play. McKinsey predicts there will be 20 – 30 billion connected devices and a market worth up to $17 trillion by 2020, so there’s little doubt that, far from being the latest in a long line of retail tech trends, the IoT is significant, it’s industry-changing and yet it’s poorly understood by even the most switched-on C-level personnel.

There are some clear messages coming through from across the industry, from managing board expectations to the nuts and bolts of operations infrastructure:

Ecommerce warehouse distribution conveyor belt
  • We’re only at the beginning
  • Data is the most important part to get right:
    • Who owns it
    • Who looks after security
    • Who can extract meaning and use it intelligently
  • Retailers know they have to do something but they don’t know where to start

These points undoubtedly raise some big questions for retailers, with no obvious answers – so far, the IoT can’t readily be pinned down to one single technology, activity or even definition.

So what are the challenges retailers are facing today so that they’re ready for the IoT tomorrow?

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