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Looking Back at 2015 – A Tipping Point for the Internet of Things

2015 will be remembered as the year of the Internet of things. The tipping point when IoT went from the back rooms of the technology world to become mainstream.

2015 a tipping pointThe consultancy McKinsey estimates that the Internet of Things – a world where up to 50 billion things (or devices) will be connected to the Internet – could create up to $11 trillion per year of new economic value to business and society. The term Internet of Things traces its origins to 1999, but it is only over the last year or so that the realization of its transformational potential has reached the business community and the general population. The number of research reports, conferences and media articles devoted to the topic has exploded. With the media making the connection between the smart home and the connected automobile IoT has begun to become part of the popular parlance.

In fact, a Google search for Internet of Things reveals 725 billion results.
Google Trends also reveals that Read More »

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The Business Drivers of Hyper-distributed Computing

It would be easy to say that the primary drivers behind hyper-distributed computing are social, mobile, analytics, cloud and security (SMACS). While it is true that these approaches are influencing or enabling hyper-distributed computing, they are not the business drivers. SMACS technologies are necessary but insufficient enablers of hyper-distributed computing. The premise of hyper-distributed computing is the ability to sense and react in context relative to people and systems– this is the domain of IoT and software automation-based platforms.

AP17533 JJ BLOG for Hyper-distributed Business Drivers 1-5-16IoT technologies which are focused on data virtualization and edge analytics are of primary relevance because of the nature of how they support hyper-distributed computing and provide new capabilities to the IoT landscape.

Data Virtualization

Data virtualization is the idea that data can reside anywhere and be logically joined together for different purposes without creating new copies of the data. This kind of data integration software makes organizations more agile by increasing the value of your data, network and other IT assets, without the long delays of data replication and physical consolidation traditionally required to achieve your goal of a unified view of the business.

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IoT, Robotics, Drones: Triggers for Digital Transformation

Happy Disruptive New Year! As 2016 promises to unleash digital innovations across industries, let’s pause for a moment and ask ourselves: What are some of the common triggers of this disruptive transformation to digitize business and society?

Three that immediately spring to my mind are: the Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics and Drones. On the surface, they all appear to be different dimensions of the upcoming technology revolution, but the moment we dig deeper, we discover a fascinating connection. They are all triggers or change agents for digital transformation through their connection with the Internet.

RoboticsBirenBlogPic1That was precisely the core idea behind last month’s RoboUniverse conference in San Diego: Robots, Drones, and The Internet of Everything. It was an honor to speak and share deeper thoughts on this subject during one of the sessions along with Daniel Obodovski, renowned author of an IoT book: The Silent Intelligence.

If we analyze historical facts, only about 12% (61 out of 500) of Fortune 500 companies in 1995 were still around in 2014. Today, 40% of the companies on the Fortune 500 list will either not exist or become irrelevant in the next decade. Professor Richard Foster from Yale University estimates that by 2020, more than three-quarters of the S&P 500 will be companies that we have not heard of yet. Another proof of today’s accelerated pace of change is the fact that “the average lifespan of a company in the S&P 500 index has decreased by more than 50 years in the last century, from 67 years in the 1920s to just 20 years today,” according to Professor Foster’s BBC Business Interview in 2012. Read More »

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How to Create an Omnichannel Strategy that’s Worth Celebrating

This holiday season customers have more ways to shop than ever before. Retailers are making it easier to get the right presents by providing enhanced delivery options – from buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) to curbside pickup. While this freedom is empowering for customers, it creates a new level of complexity for retailers as seen by the hurdles experienced this holiday season. As this complexity becomes the new normal, the retailers that will thrive are those who deliver a consistent branded shopping experience across all channels.

No retailer has yet fully mastered the seamless omnichannel experience, but a few are well on their way:

Nordstrom gives customers access to advice from their favorite sales associate anytime through their TextStyle program. If a customer needs a personalized recommendation, a sales associate can scan an item, provide a photo and brief description, and send them a buying code via text. Once a customer types “buy,” the sale is charged to their preferred credit card and sent to the shipping address that’s on file.

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Kohl’s is seeing success with its mobile app which provides a consistent experience by allowing customers to access their virtual shopping bag, available loyalty points, and promotions while shopping in-store or online.

Coach does a fantastic job of integrating channels by allowing customers online to search in-store inventory in their area for the specific product they want. When a customer completes the purchase in store, the associate sends them a follow up email that includes personalized recommendations to encourage repeat purchases.

The shopping experience demanded in today’s competitive climate needs to be seamless. Retailers can be successful by creating one digital platform and pushing content and functionality across multiple channels, instead of trying to integrate a portfolio of different assets.

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One way retailers can start is to repurpose content from their online and mobile properties and bring it into the store using digital signage and tablets. This allows them to test which content increases conversions and apply changes instantly across multiple stores.

And content isn’t the only thing that can be duplicated across channels. Retailers can scale shopper engagement through digital experiences in the store. By using digital capabilities like remote expert, retailers can continuously offer high levels of service and expertise in a way that isn’t dependent on in-store staffing. Promotions can also be offered in real-time to improve conversion or maintain competitive pricing.

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Retailers should evaluate each step in the shopper journey and assess where digitization can improve the experience. They should also consider making use of the data that comes from digitizing those steps to make better decisions on what’s working and what isn’t.

While retailers have access to a mountain of data from online and mobile shopping journeys, they have a big opportunity to gather data from the in-store experience. Retailers will get a full picture of each customer’s journey when they combine data across all channels and build processes that allow them to deliver the right experience at the right time – whether shorter checkout, personalized assistance, or more relevant promotions. At Cisco we’re building the most advanced IOT solution in the industry by giving retailers access to information in the store that they can apply online and share across all channels.

What strategies do you think will be effective for creating seamless customer experiences? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

For more innovative retail strategies, see our Top 10 list of how you can create the ultimate shopping experience:

10 Ways Digital Technologies Can Create the Ultimate Shopping Experience from Cisco Business Insights

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Analytics: Building a Winning Strategy in Manufacturing

Machinery, supply chains, and raw materials have always been core concerns in manufacturing. Today, another asset is just as critical — data.

General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt said it well: “The industrial world is changing dramatically, and those companies that make the best use of data will be the most successful.”

I certainly agree. If manufacturers want to gain the agility, innovation, and hyper-awareness needed to compete and win, they must start thinking like technology companies. That means leveraging data — and the real-time insights derived through analytics — in impactful new ways.

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