Many people I know and work with are already starting to drop their use of the term 'IoT' (Internet of Things).  Whilst it's certainly a hot-topic and one debated and discussed widely, the practical, real-world application of hundreds, of thousands of sensors throughout a multi-echelon Supply Chain operation and their associated cost is still developing, and as such, IoT is already a term encased in hyperbole.

And yet there are tangible, real-world benefits for which to aim.  The keys are not the IoT devices themselves, but the opportunity that their deployment presents to maximise use of that most valuable of commodities: Data.

Many Retailers 'get it'.  The 72% statistic quoted in this article demonstrates that it's a theme high up on their technical radar but the reality is that it is a sound, solid, underpinning data infrastructure that makes the magic happen.  And quite serendipitously, the much-vaunted desire to move Closer To The Customer through a strategic, cohesive evolution of technology-based operational platforms and tools means that this rock-solid foundation can be leveraged for the most important task in retail: selling more stuff.

IoT then takes on a more critical importance.  Garnering evermore voluminous data from myriad sources demands stringent governance, management and manipulation but get the basics right and the Data-Centric retail operation is thereafter well positioned to exploit innovation.  The real value of IoT lies in the analysis of the data the devices generate to create retail competitive advantage such as custom app development, Augmented Reality (AR) experiences and a tightly coupled omnichannel customer journey.

IoT and innovation.  Hand-in-hand principles but only if you get the basics right...