New data from Juniper Research has revealed that retailers seeking to capitalise on IoT (Internet of Things) technologies will spend an estimated $2.5 billion by 2020 in hardware and installation costs, nearly a fourfold increase over this year’s estimated $670 million spend.
The hardware spend includes Bluetooth Beacons and RFID (radio frequency ID) tags. In the first instance, Bluetooth beacons enable visibility over footfall as well as the ability to push relevant information to consumers’ smartphones. Meanwhile, RFID aids in real-time asset tracking, reduced labour costs and even dynamic pricing according to stock levels and online pricing.
IoT in Retail: A Knot to Tie Product, Customer & Service Together
The new research, The Internet of Things: Consumer, Industrial & Public Services 2015-2020, found that leading retailers using the IoT to generate an ‘ecosystem’ are poised to gain market advantage and truly capitalise on the opportunity. Linking the hardware elements of RFID tags, beacons and connected consumer electronics, such as wearables, with software analytics promises in-depth business insight and an enhanced customer experience.
“Retailers such as Zara and Target are already taking advantage of the benefits offered by RFID asset tracking” noted author Steffen Sorrell. “Meanwhile the beacon industry is expanding rapidly; used as a method to provide consumers with contextually relevant information in conjunction with their smartphone or wearable will enormously enhance the in-store experience.”
The IoT Needs a New Security Model
Additionally, Juniper Research found, with the number of connected units within the IoT (Internet of Things) forecast to reach 38.5 billion in 2020, attitudes and methods with regards to cybersecurity will have to undergo fundamental change. Where today’s security is principally focussed on access prevention, the IoT security model will require robust means of identifying inevitable network breaches. Should suspicious activity be detected, parts of the network can then be ‘shut off’ in similar fashion to marine vessel bulkheads to prevent attack spread.
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