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In Retail, Insight Is Currency, and Context Is King

Today’s retailers face a rising tide of change, disruption, and challenges, all driven by technology. As their business landscape is upended, many are struggling to adapt to changing consumer behaviors, competition from disruptive innovators, and exponentially increasing complexity.

The source of much of this disruption is the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the networked connection of people, process, data, and things, and Cisco projects these connections to surge from 13 billion today to 50 billion in the next decade. For retailers, that means a sharp increase in the potential channels, devices, and shopping journeys that are available to consumers. Increasingly, retailers must meet new demands for relevant, efficient, and convenient shopping experiences, whether in-store or out.

IoE_Retail_Figure_Journey_3-2

But for traditional retailers, IoE also presents tremendous opportunities. At the National Retail Federation’s “Big Show” in New York this week, I have seen a great openness to change and innovation. As I see it, traditional retailers are ready to step into the IoE era, but they will need the right ecosystem of partners to guide them through the transformation and help them make the right investments.

To better understand these opportunities and the changing competitive dynamics in retail, Cisco recently undertook a comprehensive, three-pronged study consisting of original research, economic analysis, and interviews with retail industry thought leaders. Released this week, the first wave of primary research findings includes 1240 consumer responses from the United States and the United Kingdom.

A key theme that emerged from the research was that today’s consumers demand new kinds of digital experiences, both in-store and out. In our survey, we presented respondents with 19 concept tests — everything from digital signage and same-day delivery to mobile payments and augmented reality. Above all, we found that shoppers seek a hyper-relevant experience — more so than a hyper-personalized one. In short, efficiency and savings are more important to them than personal engagement.

In our survey, 38 percent of respondents identified greater efficiency in the shopping process (e.g., ensuring items are in stock, speeding checkout times) as the area retailers most need to improve. By contrast, 13 percent sought improvements that would lead to a more personalized shopping experience. Read More »

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#InternetofEverything – Where Connections and Value Intersect

The evolution of the Internet is a combination of integrative factors that improve connectivity, create networked economies and build immersive experiences to create an increasingly connected world known as the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE brings together people, processes, data and things through networked connections. These connections offer value by turning information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences and unprecedented economic opportunities. Read More »

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How To Gain an Edge by Taking Data Analytics to the Edge

In Part 1 of this blog series, I talked about how data integration provides a critical foundation for capturing actionable insights that generate improved outcomes. Now, in Part 2, I’ll focus on the two other challenges that must be met to extract value from data: 1) automating the collection of data, and 2) analyzing the data to effectively identify business-relevant, actionable insights. This is where things, data, processes, and people come together.

Let’s start with automation.

After IoT data is captured and integrated, organizations must get the data to the right place at the right time (and to the right people) so it can be analyzed. This includes automatically assessing the data to determine whether it needs to be moved to the “center” (a data center or the cloud) or analyzed where it is, at the “edge” of the network (“moving the analytics to the data”). Analytics at the Edge

The edge of the network is essentially the place where data is captured. On the other hand, the “center” of the network refers to offsite locations such as the cloud and remote data centers — places where data is transmitted for offsite storage and processing, usually for traditional reporting purposes. The edge effectively could be anywhere, such as on a manufacturing plant floor, in a retail store, or on a moving vehicle.

In “edge computing,” therefore, applications, data, and services are pushed to the logical extremes of a network — away from the center — to enable analytics knowledge generation and immediate decision-making at the source of the data.

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Welcome Matt Morris to the Cisco Energy Industry Blog

matmorri

Matt Morris, Cisco Systems Inc.

Please join me in welcoming Matt Morris to the Energy Industry Blog.

Matt is the Global Solution Lead for Cisco’s Internet of Things (IOT) Solutions practice (Oil & Gas, Utilities, Manufacturing, Transportation and Mining), where he leads the strategy, development and go to market of Cisco’s “big bets” and transformational solutions. This includes the Cisco Secure Ops Solution, a solution that delivers critical infrastructure security as a managed service, along with household names in ICS Security.  His duties at Cisco include – leadership and governance; spearheading strategy, business and technology innovation; performing due diligence for strategic acquisitions; building/fostering new partnerships to scale the business. Matt also leads and participates in various special projects at Cisco.

Matt has spoken at, or appeared at, many events, conferences and shows as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Cisco in the areas of security and threat response :

Recently, Matt lead the launch of the Secure Ops Solution. This ground-breaking offering from Cisco provides for “Critical infrastructure security as-a-service” and uses a convenient service wrapper and attaches a set of service level agreements. Read about it here: Unveiling Cisco Collaborative Operations and Secure Ops Solutions. It supports cyber security risk management and compliance for industrial control environments. You can also read about how an oil company use of Secure Ops in Peter Granger’s blog: Cisco to Provide Secure Ops Solution to Royal Dutch Shell.

Prior to Cisco, Matt worked for Landis+Gyr (L+G), a prominent Smart Grid player. As Director of Product Management & Marketing, Matt’s responsibilities included portfolio management of L+G’s North American products and solutions, partnerships and alliances, portfolio and brand strategy, mergers & acquisitions, and complex deal negotiations. This included AMI, DA, HAN, and Cybersecurity solutions.

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Cisco Partner Case Study in Oil and Gas – Canadian Natural Resources by Provist

Cisco partner Provista IP Communications* provided a solution to Canadian Natural Resources that delivered a flexible off-shore wireless network supplying data mobility whilst remaining secure and manageable.

When you search for case studies in Oil and Gas there are lots that cover the carpeted areas of organizations – office areas mainly, but fewer that actually reach outside to places like manufacturing or refinery areas, or even oil rigs. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to read the case study from Provista. Provista are a Cisco partner based near Glasgow with a presence in North-East Scotland and the Midlands in England.

You’ll hopefully remember my blog: Ferguson Group Ltd keeps an Eye on Operations with Cisco Physical Security, in which I talked about the coming of a new ‘space-age’ equivalent for Scotland. In that blog we looked at physical security and video in particular. With this Canadian Natural Resources (CNR) case study we can see how the Cisco technologies go further out to inhospitable environments and help keep workers away from danger, and more productive if they have to be off-shore.

Read the case study and you’ll see the provision of Cisco wireless technologies helped enable CNR overcome some business challenges:

1.  “The cost of resourcing engineering consultancy and deployment time was significantly higher due to travel restrictions.”

2.  “It would be difficult to ensure that installed wireless networks would remain active in the event of a single device failure.”

3.  “Canadian Natural regularly had guest visitors to their off-shore oil platforms and thus requested a secure, but separate, connection for guests to make use of.”

Provist goes on to say that there were some major business benefits are being achieved:

  1. Cost/Safety: “Provista’s solution ensured that there was no need for highly-trained technical staff to be present at the remote sites.”

  2. Lower Downtime: “Canadian Natural technical staff have a longer window of time to deploy replacement equipment in the event of a failure.”

  3. Worker/Guest Productivity: “Employees and guests can be more productive off-shore as a result of the wireless network access.”

The case study goes on to talk about the implementation and Cisco elements for management and control. This is an example of how Oil and Gas customers will often start building networking infrastructure in the carpeted areas (like CNR did) and then extend out to non-carpeted areas such as oil platforms. The number of oil rigs that have a pervasive WLAN is actually relatively low. Sure, there are numerous proprietary networks for sensors and the like, but we’re now seeing the implementation of WIFI on rigs that are providing converged (i.e. compatibility and convergence with IT and OT – or Operational Technologies systems and networks), as the Internet of Things, and the Internet of Everything continues its journey of becoming more pervasive. This is a convergence based on Industry standards.

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