Future of Brick and Mortar Begins With Responsive Retail: 7 Questions With JDA

We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with JDA Software GVP Product Strategy Todd McCourtie to discuss the future of brick-and-mortar stores. Successful retailing comes down to one thing: getting the right product into shoppers’ hands. That may sound simple, but success requires inventory accuracy, efficient sales associates and the flexibility to quickly adapt to shoppers’ needs in near-real time. That said, thanks to today’s emerging retail technology solutions I’m convinced that the retail industry’s future has never looked brighter! –Stacey Shulman

A picture of clothes on hangers.

Q: To start off, what are some of the challenges you see brick-and-mortar retailers facing that technology solutions can help solve?

A: Today’s retailers are looking for answers to the same questions that have always challenged the retail industry. How do I manage my inventory? How do I deliver a great customer experience? Moreover, how do I optimize my workforce for maximum results? Technology can help here, but what has really emerged is that as some retailers have tried to solve these challenges they’ve ended up cobbling together islands of technology. So it’s been very difficult for them to get that full 360-degree view of the store that leads to actionable results. I think that’s where we see opportunities emerging through technology solutions that can seamlessly support retailers with their immediate problem, which is how can they make sure they’ve got their inventories in the right place in the store.


Q: Can you talk a bit about how improving inventory management can solve several retail issues at once?

A: There’s a couple things. First, it’s not just a missed sale if the inventory is not in its place, but it affects the customer experience. Whether a retailer offers an inviting and easy-to-understand sales process is completely irrelevant if the product isn’t on the shelf. So, to me, that’s where it starts. If retailers have inventory visibility they can start to do localization because they’re seeing the real-time demand. A great example that focuses on localization is the question of why do sweaters arrive at Phoenix, Arizona, stores in May? It makes absolutely no sense. If near-real-time inventory management solutions are in place, then retailers have insights into the buying habits of individual stores and communities. They can then instantly replenish inventory, or not, based on the demands they’re getting from the store.


Q: How are JDA and Intel technology solutions uniquely positioned to address the localized inventory management solutions you mentioned?

A: I was hoping you’d ask! I’m excited to share that JDA and Intel have teamed up to offer retailers an intelligent technology solution to help manage and overcome age-old business challenges: the JDA Store Optimizer, supported by the Intel Responsive Retail Sensor. It tracks inventory accurately, so you always know where items are located and how many are in stock while also automatically updating store associates’ tasks. Having near-real-time inventory data makes it easy to run lean, save time and money and replenish products as needed with little risk of shortages, overstocking or preventable returns. The JDA Store Optimizer then uses this precise inventory data to automatically identify, prioritize and assign tasks that sales associates need to carry out to optimize operational efficiency, while freeing the store manager to spend more time making decisions that will improve store performance and increase revenue.

To put it simply, we know the future of retail because we’re building it with Intel. So we see the problems of today and both companies see what we need to do to solve them, but with an eye to the future.


Q: Data security is a hot topic these days. How is that being addressed with this retail technology solution?

A: When we deal with privacy, we always talked about opt-in [being] enabled right into the platform. From an application provider perspective, the core platform is built from the ground up with security in mind. We also want to make sure that data can be isolated per application, so that if a retailer has their specific set of data they’re bringing, it’s only for them and they know they can trust that verified data. So, that kind of end-to-end security is built in from the ground up. Then there’s end-to-end data encryption, as well, to help guarantee the security and privacy of the data.


Q: What about privacy? How is that being addressed with this solution?

A: From my perspective, privacy is very personal. Some people are completely OK with giving that away; other people are very guarded about it. Only 43 percent of shoppers say they are comfortable giving up personal data to a retailer — even if it is to improve their shopping experience. This is a relevant and prescient issue to retailers today. And so, when we’ve tried to approach it, we’ve said there needs to be a way to opt in; a loyalty program is a great way to do that, for example.


Q: Can you give us an example of some of the early results you’re seeing from a retailer that has piloted the JDA Store Optimizer?

A: I certainly can. We’re working with a specialty retailer in North America and are excited to see that we’re getting enormous response. I just received an email stating how pleased the associates are in that environment because they’re able to spend more time focusing on relevant customer engagement and that’s great news for us to hear. We know that this is so important from data that we have about customer behavior. Most consumers say that they want associates who are more knowledgeable and will leave a store empty-handed if they do not get the right person with knowledge to help them with purchasing products. A recent study shows that two in three shoppers who tried to find information within a store say they did not find all the information they needed; when they were unable to find the complete information, 43 percent of customers left the store frustrated; 22 percent said they were less likely to buy from that retailer and 41 percent more likely to shop elsewhere. It is so important to have engaged, knowledgeable and able sales associates and the JDA Store Optimizer enables sales associates to get back to the business of being available to customers rather than just running around the store in search of inventory.


Q: How do you see artificial intelligence coming to bear and being a part of this platform in the future?

A: Artificial intelligence can help us precisely because we don’t live in a static world. If store shelves were always perfectly stocked and arranged then we probably wouldn’t have much of a need for it. But we live in reality. People buy things so the stock is changing constantly. Things are shuffled as people look at them. Customer behavior enables an opportunity to use pattern matching and artificial intelligence to really go look at those environments and say, hey, these events have happened where there’s a $ 5 item covering a $ 100 item that was really supposed to be on display; let’s have an associate go fix that to give me insight into the ROI of an endcap. Was it actually stocked properly? Did people interact with it? I think we can learn over time, make it much better and make that store truly responsive. In a way, the store itself is learning. The platform helps the store learn so it can keep up in near-real time with the changes that are happening in consumer behavior and the retail environment. Moreover, there’s no lag time. You’re not being caught unaware.

Visit intel.com/retail to learn more about how Intel technology is shaping the future of responsive retail. To stay informed about Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit intel.com/IoTLinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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Sonos will brick your speakers

Sonos will brick your speakers if you don’t accept their new TOS.

In this week’s Internet of Things Podcast, Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel discuss Sonos updating its Terms of Service to prepare for the Amazon Echo integration. As part of this update, the connected speaker maker confirmed that customers who did not accede to the new terms of service would see their devices stop working in the future. This didn’t go over well, but this is a complicated issue. Stacey and Kevin break many of these issues down. We also talk about Google’s Assistant plans, hacked robots, what has happened to the Nvidia Spot, the potential sale of AT&T’s Digital Life service, and answer a reader question.

Also this week, Stacey talks with Nick Dawson, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Sibley innovation hub. Hear about applying some DIY tech to healthcare…Dawson describes how his team built a separate network to experiment with Amazon Dash buttons, Amazon Echoes, Sonoses, Philips Hue lights and even using Slack. It’s really cool.

Listen here:

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

Another Brick in the Wall: Barriers to IoT Adoption

In my previous blog, I outlined the major components of the Internet of Things (IoT), giving the current state of IoT technology a grade of B-minus. Why the minus? Today, I’ll dive deeper into two major issues slowing IoT adoption: complexity and security.

Complexity Fragments Markets and Hampers Interoperability

There is no such thing as the “IoT market.” The typical vertical markets associated with industrial IoT applications range from manufacturing, transportation, oil and gas, and mining to agriculture, retail, insurance, healthcare, education, and smart cities. Each of these huge markets has many submarkets, and even within each submarket there are many overlapping, often long-standing ecosystems. Car manufacturers in Europe, for example, work within a completely different supply chain from those in the United States; each has its own vocabulary, technologies, and challenges. Adding to that complexity is the fact that, with few exceptions, IoT deployments are in “brownfield” environments, where innovations have to coexist with a plethora of incompatible legacy technologies.

“Car manufacturers in Europe, for example, work within a completely different supply chain from those in the United States; each has its own vocabulary, technologies, and challenges. Adding to that complexity is the fact that, with few exceptions, IoT deployments are in “brownfield” environments, where innovations have to coexist with a plethora of incompatible legacy technologies.”

Then factor in access technologies. The wide range of IoT use cases drives an equally wide range of technologies that vary according to bandwidth, reach, power, and cost. Connected vending machines may need to send a few packets whenever a brand of soda needs to be restocked. On the other extreme, the sensors deployed around an oil rig may generate terabytes of data each day. These sensors are connected within the rig using a combination of Ethernet and wireless technologies. In some cases, the data can be sent back to the central data repository using a fiber cable; but when this isn’t possible for remote sites, the data is processed locally in real-time, and just the exceptions or alerts are sent back via satellite. In other cases, you might piggyback on a municipal Wi-Fi system, or use Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies to connect battery-powered devices. Payment apps such as Apple Pay use near-field communications (NFC), which (thankfully) won’t work more than a few inches away. Indeed, these special needs demand specialized technology—but the result is a complex tangle of often incompatible and disparate access methods.

The IoT industry has tried to bring order to all of this with horizontal and vertical standards bodies and consortia—IEEE, IETF, ODVA, ISA, IIC, OCF, and OPC, to name a few (and to get lost in alphabet soup!). Ironically, there are so many industry organizations that it’s hard to bring them all together into a cohesive set of standards that ensure interoperability across an entire IoT deployment. The various sensors in a single production facility may run on different semi-proprietary standards that limit the free flow of information. Limited access to IoT data limits the value of your IoT deployment. For example, IoT applications such as preventive maintenance can work only if they can gather, process, and analyze all the data generated by heat, pressure, and vibration sensors on a piece of heavy equipment. Standardization and interoperability are the gateway to IoT value.

Companies considering IoT deployments also have to navigate rapidly changing organizational structures. For most of the 20th century, vertically integrated vendors strived to deliver end-to-end solutions. Today, markets move too fast for any one company to develop or deliver a single, complete solution on its own. The 21st century model is the emergence of symbiotic ecosystems of partners who complement each other in developing IoT solutions together. You might picture a big square dance, where partners come together for a time, then move off to dance with someone else. For many companies, this is unknown territory, but the sooner you embrace this model, the sooner you’ll be able to benefit from the IoT economy.

Security Concerns Can Kill an IoT Deployment

Worries about security may cause decision-makers to hesitate before investing in an IoT deployment—and last year’s IoT distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks didn’t helped matters. IoT security is in many ways unique: It is more distributed, more heterogeneous, and more dynamic than traditional IT security environments. It also introduces new scenarios that require brand new approaches to security (think connected cars, sensor swarms and consumer-class devices in the workplace).

“Worries about security may cause decision-makers to hesitate before investing in an IoT deployment—and last year’s IoT distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks didn’t helped matters. IoT security is in many ways unique: It is more distributed, more heterogeneous, and more dynamic than traditional IT security environments. It also introduces new scenarios that require brand new approaches to security (think connected cars, sensor swarms and consumer-class devices in the workplace).”

Back in the day when industrial enterprises ran self-contained, proprietary systems, “security by obscurity” was standard practice—if you’re not connected to anything, no one can break in. That approach no longer works in today’s connected IoT environment (if it ever did), so businesses must rely on a policy-based architectural approach that builds security into every aspect of a deployment—not just defending the perimeter.

After years of under-investment, the security industry is finally addressing the special requirements of IoT in a way that is reminiscent of how it responded to the challenges of Wi-Fi 15 years ago—accelerating work in standards, interoperability and certifications.

On the Other Hand, Adoption Accelerators Can Help Realize IoT Value

While complexity and security remain obstacles to widespread IoT implementation, here are two technology trends that promise to accelerate adoption and multiply the value of IoT solutions:

Analytics: When we put sensors on things and then connect them, we begin collecting vast amounts of data in motion about those things. Analytics sifts through that data real-time or near-real-time to find what is important and delivers insights and recommended actions for business impact. Two of the four fast paths to IoT payback I’ve identified—predictive analytics and preventive maintenance—depend on analytics to create IoT value.

Blockchain: I mentioned in my last blog that the ability to have a trusted means of transferring and tracking value online is enabling a whole new class of IoT capabilities, such as authenticating interactions among autonomous vehicles or managing and reporting mining site data. The “Internet of value” created by IoT plus blockchain will transform online processes. The industry is moving swiftly to capitalize on these capabilities starting with the formation of consortia to ensure interoperability.

So while obstacles remain, I am optimistic about the trajectory of IoT. An active community of IoT innovators is working tirelessly to reduce complexity and improve security. They know that IoT value depends on it.

Do you want to get involved?

Learn and contribute more by joining lively discussions from industry thought leaders in the new Building the Internet of Things community. More IoT insights can also be found on my web site.

(c) istockphoto.com/ bogdanhoda | tramino | hywards

The post Another Brick in the Wall: Barriers to IoT Adoption appeared first on IoT Tech Expo.

IoT Tech Expo

New Age Smart Retailing In Brick And Mortar

New Age Smart Retailing In Brick And Mortar

Moderated by Avinash Kaushik, Founder, Revvx Hardware/IOT Accelerator

Panelists: Sumit Laad, Country Head, Amazon Launchpad

Zainul Charbiwala, founder & CTO, Tricog Health

Deboprio Ghosh, Founder & CEO, Rewango

Bahubali Shete, Founder & CEO, IOTPOT

New innovations and technical capabilities will continue to transform the retail experience, from mobile to personalization to bringing artificial intelligence and augmented reality out of the future and into the present. Retail vertical is getting smarter with IoT integration to bring e-commerce style shopper analytics to brick-and mortar, focusing entirely on optimizing the shopper experience. Catch Industry experts sharing their views on What the future of retail looks like?



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Internet Of Things | IoT India

BrickerBot malware will brick unsecure Internet of Things devices

Hacker using laptop. Hacking the Internet.

A new malicious software program targeting Linux-based Internet of Things (IoT) devices, called BrickerBot, has been spotted by cybersecurity vendor Radware.

BrickerBot is similar to Mirai, the destructive malware program that enlists corrupt IoT devices into botnets for denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Like Mirai, BrickerBot attacks unsecure devices that have not changed the default username and password.

See also: 5 IoT cybersecurity predictions for the coming year

Once inside the unsecure device, BrickerBot starts to permanently remove the storage and revokes Internet access, effectively killing the unit. This is the major difference between Mirai and BrickerBot; while Mirai uses the corrupt IoT devices, BrickerBot makes them unusable.

It is not known how many devices, if any, have fallen victim to a BrickerBot attack.

The attack does appear to be easy to pull off in theory, as all an attacker would need is remote access to the IoT device. Many of the devices are connected to the Internet through routers that suffer from the same poor authentication and encryption techniques.

Here are a few tips

The firm said it provides five solutions to make avoid a BrickerBot attack:

  • Change the device’s factory default credentials.
  • Disable Telnet access to the device.
  • Network Behavioral Analysis can detect anomalies in traffic and combine with automatic signature generation for protection.
  • User/Entity behavioral analysis (UEBA) to spot granular anomalies in traffic early.
  • An IPS should block Telnet default credentials or reset telnet connections.

It is another sign that IoT devices need at least basic security to avoid catastrophic damage to commercial and industrial devices. Most manufacturers still lack basic encryption and do not teach users how to change the username and password.

The post BrickerBot malware will brick unsecure Internet of Things devices appeared first on ReadWrite.