The Internet of Things Is Drastically Changing Retail

The Internet of Things is beginning to make its mark on various industries. Most large companies are using IoT (Internet of Things) technologies or are planning to use them. IoT technologies can be used to gather data in order to help companies better serve customers and to be more efficient. But there is an industry that has already incorporated IoT technology to a large degree. That industry is retail.

Venkat-Janapareddy-bag-839602_960_720The landscape of the retail industry is rapidly transforming due to IoT technology. This revolutionary data-sharing technology has created a number of new opportunities in customer service, in brick-and-mortar stores, in the supply chain and more. IoT technology has also made its way into a number of home-based connected platforms. IoT technology has also been used to track inventory through the installation of smart shelves that can detect when inventory is low. Goods can be tracked throughout the supply chain using RFID sensors.

IoT technology has played a large role in shifting the consumer experience. In today’s world, consumers expect to have a seamless shopping experience, whether they are on an e-commerce site or if they’re shopping at a brick-and-mortar store. Many steps are being taken to shape what a connected store would look like and to make that dream a reality. Some stores have systems that send shoppers personalized digital coupons when they come into the store. Electronic shelf labels with dynamic pricing are also a key part of IoT technology’s role in the consumer’s experience. Other examples include self-checkout using smartphones and interactive digital signs that sense who is in front of them in order to tailor promotions to that individual.

This potential for growth utilizing IoT technology is largely thanks to long-range, low-power Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi and other indoor location-based technologies let retailers bring IoT technology into the store and experiment with the ways that it can improve the customer experience while still maintaining the customers’ privacy.

IoT technology is also altering retail supply chain and delivery operations. In the world of retail, there is a need to understand where the goods are and how up-to-date they are. IoT technology can provide a lot of this information. It allows for better visibility and can also help to prevent the loss of goods. IoT technology can also be utilized to measure how environmental factors like heat are affecting goods. When goods are damaged, IoT technology can help people figure out the exact location and time of the damage, therefore making it possible to identify what party is responsible.

IoT technology is also able to help automate and optimize the supply chain. Shelf sensors can be installed in stores and warehouse systems so that they can re-order products when inventories reach low levels. This can lead to increased accuracy of inventory accounting as well as a reduction in out-of-stocks and a decrease in product loss.

Like all new advances in technology, the Internet of Things does come with its challenges. The biggest challenge is simply how quickly it is evolving and the wide variety of technologies that can be connected. The largest issue regarding IoT technology in retail is figuring out how to analyze, manage, and act on the large amounts of data that are coming in from all of the connected devices.

IoT technology will truly become a key part of the retail industry when merchants realize that the goal of IoT technology is to change business outcomes. IoT technology has the power to create a new revenue stream, new customer experiences, and new business models. It’s only a matter of time before IoT technology transforms the way we think about retail.

Biggest Challenges For The Internet Of Things

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While the Internet of Things has only been growing since it was first created, it has faced some challenges along the way and will continue to face challenges as long as it is in existence.

Security

In 2015 the amount of devices connected to the Internet of Things was around 6.5 billion. This number is only expected to grow as technologies advance. With such a large number of devices connected, the security concern is extremely high. Individuals and businesses have a great deal of confidential information stored on the cloud and if people don’t believe that their devices are protected on the IoT then they might choose not to buy new technologies and utilize them. This could significantly slow down the progress of technologies.

Bandwidth and power consumption

With 6.5 billion devices connected to the cloud (IoT), the amount of bandwidth capacity needed to send and store this information is great. Figuring out ways to constantly grow this network and ensure that everything continues to have a place of the cloud is a great challenge for the Internet of Things.

Sensing

Something that the Internet of Things needs to work on is ensuring that everything connected to the cloud is equipped with sensors to relay information to you when the device is facing a network connectivity problem.

Connectivity

The point of the Internet of Things is to ensure that devices all around the world are constantly connected to each other and to the cloud. This is only possible if the IoT is constantly available and never disrupted.

Adaptability

Technology is constantly changing. Trends change as does the need of the consumer. With these changes, the IoT needs to evolve and adapt in order to improve itself. If you look at where the Internet of Things was when it first started, you can tell that it has come a long way. It has expanded into many different fields such as transportation and agriculture. But it needs to ensure that it continues to grow and help out the consumer as much as possible,

The Internet of Things: Changing Urban Areas

Internet of Things Urban Areas

Right now, in 2016, more than half of the world’s population live in urban areas. By 2050 that number is expected to multiply so that two-thirds of us will live in cities. That means that by 2050 there will be 2.5 billion more people living in cities who need housing, employment and transportation. Imagine 2.5 billion people living in our cities right now.That would be a nightmare as we are already facing traffic, global warming, overcrowding, crime and many other issues. However, technology that is currently in the works will help the cities of the future better cope with this mass population increase.

Traffic lights

Currently, you may have to wait a really long time for a green light even if there are no cars in the other direction. That will all change. Video sensors are being embedded into traffic lights to adjust their greens and reds according to where the cars are. This is a huge improvement on two fronts. The first is that it will reduce congestion and unnecessary waiting times. The second is that it will reduce smog, since vehicles that are idling at red lights burn up to 17% of the fuel consumed in urban areas.

Parking

In Barcelona, they are already using sensors to help with parking. Sensors in spots relay information in real-time to drivers via an app to tell them which spots are available so they don’t have to drive around looking for something. While this is great, it requires drivers to be on their phone while they are driving which is dangerous. Frankly, this could be done more efficiently. Recently, Siemens gave a grant to a startup that is looking to build parking drones that could guide cars to available spots. This would reduce congestion a great deal, as up to 30% of congestion is caused by drivers that are roaming the streets searching for a place to park.

Designated lanes  

Right now many cities have designated bus or carpool lanes that are supposed to be reserved for these vehicles only. However, many people don’t abide by these rules. In Tel Aviv, they have installed sensors in hopes of stopping this problem. Sensors in the lanes designated for certain vehicles scan the license plate number of the vehicle and automatically charge the owners credit card at a rate that varies depending on how busy the road is.

Solar-powered garbage cans

In many urban areas garbage is a huge problem. It is just left out on the streets, sometimes overflowing and not picked up. In Philadelphia they have started to build something that is working to help resolve this issue. Big Bellies, as they call them, are solar powered garbage cans that crush waste and send a message to a dispatcher requesting a pickup when they are full. This will reduce the amount of overflowing garbage on the streets as well as lower the amount of times that garbage trucks need to make rounds to potentially empty garbages. Since implementing Big Bellies, which run for $4,000 apiece, Philly has been able to reduce the number of weekly garbage collecting shifts from 17 to just three. They have also saved $1 million on fuel, maintenance and labor costs in the past year alone.

How the Internet of Things Has Optimized Transportation

Venkat Janapareddy

The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing in popularity and more and more companies are trying to get in on this new trend. Established companies and startups are creating their own products and services that are influenced by this new technology. One of the sectors that the IoT is moving into is transportation. Cars, road, trains, planes and every other form of transportation is becoming “smart” and getting connected. As a result, we are becoming safer, saving ourselves money and making our lives easier and more efficient.

Cars
The new Tesla S electric sedan is currently on the market for $70,000. While that might seem like a ridiculous price, just wait until you hear everything that it offers. In less than four seconds it can pick up from 0 MPH to 62 MPH. Running on electric charge, if you are running low on juice the car’s navigation system can lead you to the nearest charging station. The autopilot, which comes standard in all of these cars, uses a combination of camera, radar and 360-degree sonar sensors to automatically drive on open roads and in stop-and-go traffic. It also uses these sensors to find and back into parking spots, including parallel parking spots. The camera sensors can also read the road signs and warn drivers when they need to slow down. If you start to veer out of your lane then the driver’s seat will shake. In order to improve the car, it constantly sends data back to the company’s engineers. While this is an extreme example, as it is the most advanced car out on the market at the moment, it just goes to show the amazing things that the Internet of Things can do when it comes to our everyday transportation.

Roads
Sensors, which are powerful, compact, low-power, and wireless, are also being installed in our roads. They are measuring things like changes in temperature, traffic volume, humidity as well as other traffic and weather conditions. All of this data is collected and wirelessly transmitted to a server for analysis and processing purposes. The data will allow authorities to provide real time information about traffic and road conditions to drivers. During the winter months road maintenance can also be measured with this collected information. All of these little, what seem like insignificant sensors, will make our lives safer and easier.

Planes
The aviation industry is one of the most outdated industries when it comes to adopting new technologies. Nevertheless, airplanes are currently equipped with many sensors and smart devices to help maintain the plane. Sensors on planes collect data on fuel efficiency, altitude, location, and maintenance issues. This data is wirelessly transmitted to both the pilots and workers on the ground so that they can be ready to service the plane in whatever way is necessary even before the plane lands. As a result, flight delays and cancellations have been significantly decreased.

Trains
The railroad business is also, slowly, moving towards new technologies. As with planes, many trains are being installed with sensors to tell workers if the train needs maintenance or are in threat of a nearby landslide or flooding. Research shows that these new technologies will significantly reduce the estimated 1.3 million hours that workers currently spend on rail inspections. In New York City, sensors have been installed on the tracks so that we know exactly where trains are, which means that the gaps between trains don’t have to be as large. This allows more trains to run on the busy route- up to 26 per hour, instead of only 15.

Boats
Shipping is also hopping on the IoT bandwagon. Trucks used to have to wait around at busy ports for the ships with their cargo to get in. Now, many of the 9 million containers moving through ports transmit and constantly update their precise arrival times so that trucks can plan to be there just in time. Another system allows trucks to even book a parking spot, so they don’t have to drive around searching for one.

The Internet of Things has significantly improved our transportation in the last few years. With every transportation industry starting to implement these technologies more and more we will see even better improvements in our transportation. Our everyday movement from place to place will become safer, easier and more efficient right before our eyes.