In these times of digitization, EuroCIS 2016 shone a spotlight on the big megatrends – for instance, the Internet of Things, IoT. The chance to make individual products “visible“ online, offers the retail industry great potential, especially in the areas of production and supply chain management. We spoke with Ralf Schienke, Retail Marketing Manager Germany at Fujitsu, about the current situation and the future of the IoT in retail.
Mr. Schienke, how strongly will the Internet of Things influence the retail industry?
The Internet of Things (IoT) will have a similarly large effect on our daily lives as the Internet already exerts today. In the future, more and more animate and inanimate objects, that being buildings, clothing articles, groceries, plants, and animals will have IP addresses and computing power and therefore, be able to provide information about themselves and their environment.
According to the latest estimates by consulting companies like IDC, from an IT perspective, Earth will gain approximately 50 billion new “inhabitants“ by the year 2020. This change will strongly alter the society as a whole and subsequently also the retail sector.
What new specific services are possible in retail by using the IoT?
The Internet of Things will emanate a strongly disruptive power on products and the services industry: these products will be linked to the IoT during their entire lifecycle: during their development, distribution, sales and during use by the consumer.
In the long run, it makes no difference whether we talk about food retailing, textile retailing or other areas. The integrated IoT services will hugely influence the design, cost and value for the customer. This will also significantly change the character as well as the potential of products and services.
Let’s take food expiration dates for example that incorporate the real conditions of storage and the cold chain. Or products that are able to provide information about their origins, ingredients or their proper application. The IoT creates an added value. This is why a key question for retail will be who provides the services for this and who creatively uses and monetizes them.