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The Hyper-Relevant Retailer: From Dark Assets to Dynamic Processes

As I was walking the aisles at the National Retail Federation “Big Show” in New York last week, I was impressed with the myriad of connected, smart solutions now available to retailers. Augmented reality, data analytics, video-enabled in-store robots and warehouse drones, you name it, it was there.

I’m just as dazzled as everyone else by these new technologies, but I believe it is important for retailers to view them within the wider context of making their organizations digital enterprises by taking action on 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 by the end of the decade. With a total value of $19 trillion from 2013 to 2022, IoE is a profound market transition. Read More »

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Making the Last Traffic Jam a Reality

Traffic jams aren’t just stressful—they’re expensive. A recent study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research revealed that in 2013 traffic jams cost the U.S. $124 billion. By 2030, they estimate the annual price of traffic in the U.S. and Europe will soar to $293 billion.

Can we turn this around? I think so. The Last Traffic Jam can happen through the Internet of Everything (IoE) and the increased value that comes from connections between people, process, data, and things. It’s in this highly connected world where we’ll see amazing things happen—including the Last Traffic Jam. Read More »

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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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Artificial Intelligence, Linking People and Things on the Hong Kong Subway

Connecting Dark Assets: An ongoing series on how the Internet of Everything is transforming the ways in which we live, work, play, and learn.

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is all about connecting people, process, data, and things in innovative ways. And if you think that’s just a nice vision for the future, look no further than the Hong Kong subway system — preferably after midnight.

That is when the last train rolls off the tracks and an army of about 10,000 maintenance people spring into action Read More »

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IoE Takes the Shirt Off Your Back, and Makes It Smarter and Healthier

Connecting Dark Assets: An ongoing series on how the Internet of Everything is transforming the ways in which we live, work, play, and learn.

It may be true that the clothes make the person, as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet. But even he never imagined how the Internet of Everything (IoE) would be changing the nature of the clothes we wear. IoE is the ongoing explosion in networked connections among people, process, data, and things. And when IoE is applied to wearable technology, it places the “people” element at the center, connecting users with information they can use to live healthier lives.

The new workout shirt Ralph Lauren introduced in August at the U.S. Open tennis tournament is a great example. With sensors knitted into the fabric, the “Polo Tech” t-shirt records heart rate, breathing rate, breathing depth, steps walked, calories burned, and heart-rate variation. A small clip-on “black box” sends this wealth of physiological information to a smartphone app, which displays the length and intensity of your workout in an attractive graphical format, and keeps track of progress over time. When you’re done with your workout, you can just unclip the black box and toss the shirt into the washer.

The Polo Tech shirt was created in partnership with Canadian company OMSignal, which is developing an array of connected clothing designed for fitness and everyday life. One shirt monitors stress levels and can lead you through a series of relaxation techniques when your stress gets too high. It can also nudge you to get up and move around if you’ve been inactive for a while. The company even envisions a maternity tank top in the future that monitors both the mother’s and baby’s vital signs.

Read More »

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