The Internet of Things (IoT) has captured the attention of retailers, who are increasing their average spend on IoT technologies significantly.
In fact, according to Juniper Research, retailers will spend an estimated $2.5 billion on hardware and installation costs by 2020, a nearly fourfold increase over this year’s estimated $670 million spend.
The hardware spend includes Bluetooth Beacons and RFID (radio frequency ID) tags, according to Juniper.
In the first instance, Bluetooth beacons enable visibility over footfall as well as the ability to push relevant information to consumers’ smartphones.
Meanwhile, RFID aids in real-time asset tracking, reduced labour costs and even dynamic pricing according to stock levels and online pricing.
According to Juniper, leading retailers that are already using the IoT to generate an ‘ecosystem’ are poised to gain market advantage and truly capitalise on the opportunity.
Linking the hardware elements of RFID tags, beacons and connected consumer electronics, such as wearables, with software analytics promises in-depth business insight and an enhanced customer experience, Juniper says.
"Retailers are already taking advantage of the benefits offered by RFID asset tracking" says Steffen Sorrell, Juniper Networks research author.
"Meanwhile the beacon industry is expanding rapidly; used as a method to provide consumers with contextually relevant information in conjunction with their smartphone or wearable will enormously enhance the in-store experience," he says.
Additionally, Juniper found with the number of connected units within the IoT forecast to reach 38.5 billion in 2020, attitudes and methods with regards to cybersecurity will have to undergo fundamental change.
Where today’s security is principally focused on access prevention, the IoT security model will require robust means of identifying inevitable network breaches.
Should suspicious activity be detected, parts of the network can then be ‘shut off’ in similar fashion to marine vessel bulkheads to prevent attack spread, Juniper says.
With diverse business models and aims of IoT projects such as service revenue, spend and cost-savings taken into account, Juniper forecasts the IoT opportunity to approach $300 billion annually in 2020.
Furthermore, 70% of IoT units are expected to be composed of non-consumer devices by 2020.