Democracy to IoTocracy: A Journey Worth while

Chirag Boonlia, Vice President – IT, Virtuous Retail Headquartered in Bangalore, Virtuous Retail (VR) is an institutionally owned developer-operator of community-oriented premium lifestyle shopping centers specializing in Retail Property, Real Estate, Construction, Shopping Centers, Asset Management, Consumer Experience Design, and many other areas.

IoT - What’s this now? If you think that the internet has changed your life, think again. The Internet of Things is about to change it all over again! - Brendan O’Brien. Former U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln might not have realized the reach when he would have quoted the famous quote on Democracy, which is nothing but government of the people, by the people, and for the people. However, with the ever changing dynamics & politics around the world and the uberization of the data that took place with the Internet Revolution, this very definition seem to be more apt for Internet as its all about people. This is because, the data that we consume, the image that we upload, the commerce that we conduct, revolves around people. When we try & extend the interdependence of Humans to interact, collaborate & control ‘Things’, IoT, and the ‘Internet of Things’ comes to the fore, which is tech-enabled network of networks. ‘Things’ referred-out here could be anything & everything, including appliances, machines, vehicles, home and of course people. Our very own smart phone is a classic example of IoT device, which has Voice & Face detection, GPS, Gyroscope, Adaptive Brightness and many more.

Why IoT now?
Have you ever tried Googling - ‘Where are my car keys?’ or even for that matter - ‘Where is my kid now?’ Welcome to the brave new emerging world where not only do our children talk back to us, but so do our ‘Things’. While, Google may not have a ready & relevant response to this one, it opens-up the pandora box with regards to the not so new kid on the block, IoT. IoT is all about monitor, manage, control & play with ‘Things’. There seem to be something big on the horizon, with 10 billion connected devices currently to 50 billion devices by 2025,2025; the world we live is for sure slated to undergo change. It's predicted that by 2032, each
person would be connected to approximately 3000-5000 devices. While IoT is not new & so does Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, but the recipe catalysed by high speed & reliable internet is for sure slated to make it big as together they can add & extend the use cases much beyond the orthodoxies.

"" The IoT is being called the fourth industrial revolution, and is expected to have a value of over $10 trillion by 2025,” Mckinsey Global Institute."

IoT in Retail: The global industrial sector is poised to undergo a fundamental structural change akin to the industrial revolution, as we usher in the era of IoT. With technology landscape changing & evolving every minute, every single industry is undergoing a paradigm change & retail is no different. As a matter of fact, retail seem to be at the forefront on the technology adoption, and thereby paving way for enhanced consumer experience & operational excellence.

Beacons & Proximity Marketing: With mobile becoming ubiquitous, this one holds a great potential to personalize & engage with ever savvy & discerning consumers.

Digital Signage: Current avatars of static digital signage can potentially undergo a serious overhaul with contextual advertisements, real-time price changes & consumer engagement.

Asset management: This was long overdue & error-prone human managed asset management which has already started getting IoTised & predictive maintenance, monitoring & self-optimized production is pretty much on the anvil.

Smart Shelf: With ever increasing real estate prices, its paramount that shelf space are optimally utilized & IoT does come to the rescue by having greater insights on consumer eyesight & behaviour & automated inventory management.

Smart Parking: With metro’s becoming mega cities & sagging infrastructure, parking seems to be a perennial problem & out here again, IoT has come to the rescue.

Integrated Ordering & Payment System: Chaos at Foodbox of Malls & Shopping centres are passe now as IoT could help bringing all of it on the discerning consumer’s mobile phone. This has made the eating completely queueless, cashless & personalized.

Smart Video Analytics: Existing CCTV’s can be leveraged for footfalls, gender, emotion, age, Security alerts, Shelf inventory Alerts and many more.

IoT Blind Spots
All is not hunky dory as there are some inherent challenges to this old kid on the block. Price point of sensors, while its coming down quarter after quarter is still not skewed in mass implementation. Battery life of these sensors becomes a challenge as complete ecosystem need to work hand-in-hand to make this really revolutionize our world. Lack of standard communication protocols also leads to chaos and a governing body can arguably bring some sanity to this chaotic world. Security by design is a mandatory prerequisite to securing the IoT macrocosm & as the IoT gains an ever-larger foothold in the market, Internet of Things shouldn’t translate to Internet of Threats. “The IoT is being called the fourth industrial revolution, and is expected to have a value of over $10 trillion by 2025,” Mckinsey Global Institute.