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IoT and retail tech pushes envelope in 2019: TECH(talk)


hey everyone welcome to Tech Talk I'm Juliet Beauchamp and I am here with Jon Gold who is a senior writer at Network world and we are going to be talking all things retail IOT so stay tuned so John thank you so much for coming in thanks for having me so we're gonna be discussing a bit about retail IOT and when I heard retail IOT I didn't think about how you frame it I think more about smart home devices things that you can go to any store you can go on Amazon and you can buy an IOT device from a retailer but that's not exactly how you're framing retail IOT know I think um you know at least in this context definitely as you said you know consumer consumer type IOT is definitely what you know people think of when you talk about IOT these days you know whether it's like you know a remote door lock for your house or you know something that you know you can where you can play with you know your climate control from your phone but um yeah I would say the retail sector is using it in a lot of less visible ways right now and I think they will get more visible in the future yeah it's really interesting how much IOT is a part of our everyday lives in ways that we may not even realize as simple as when you order something from Amazon you obviously know that a single person isn't going and picking I'm trying to think of what I recently ordered from Amazon I recently ordered some lights so when I ordered my lights I pressed you know place order I knew that some random person wasn't going to the shelves and picking out this specific box of lights and made sure that they were the yellow gold ones cuz I hate white gold LED lights they are not pretty in my opinion so I know that there wasn't a physical person going and taking that but it's there's so many layers to the devices that a big retailer like Amazon uses and how they incorporate IOT it's a pretty interesting oh yeah I mean you know when you click that like you were talking about when you click that order button you know you're going through just you know an army of servers and robots and warehouse technology and yeah which is why I was saying earlier that you know a lot of what a lot of the IOT technology that goes into retail is you know firmly on the back end it's you know in you know these clever roboticized you know warehouses that you know you know run hyper efficiently on and to be clear I don't fully understand you know how those work and I don't think I do not work for Amazon and then I don't think they'll tell me the secrets of their their secret sauce so but we know that there's a lot of these IOT incorporated devices that these retailers are using what are some examples like for example that Amazon what are some examples of devices that Amazon is using oh well what they're trialing right now and what I've actually written about fairly recently is the Amazon ghost or concept yeah so it's a grocery store with no cashiers the the idea is that you scan in with your phone like you have your own little unique ID on it and when you enter and a really complicated system of cameras and what a couple experts I talked to think are like weight sensors on shelves just automatically measuring what you you know putting in your basket what you've bought and you know just adds up your bill you just go in take stuff walk out and you know if something pops up on your phone says hey you've just paid amazon $16 for whatever some granola bars yes that's it's really cool and feels really futuristic it does it's probably not great news if you're you know if you actually work in retail but yeah it's it's a pretty impressive piece of technology what's interesting too is that since this feels so futuristic in foreign I wonder if there's gonna be any sort of backlash for this P becoming widespread um I could certainly see it like I say you know not just from you know their people who used to have jobs and that sort of industry now you know are getting replaced by robots and so forth but yeah and I guess there's probably something to the idea that it's you know an odd experience you just you know going in and taking stuff and you know the sensation of a large machine watching you and it's deciding what you owe it yeah it almost there's seems to be a lack of anonymity like there's just everything of that you're doing everything that you're buying every movement in your in the store is tracked and that's a little I don't know to me that's a kind of a little creepy and I would think that for other consumers it is – I couldn't agree more actually and that's definitely something they'll probably have to overcome if they can even if they want to get you know broad acceptance here and yeah I mean the whole thing about not being anonymous that's you know that's part and parcel of this that's how that whole you know type of technologies you know meant to work you really won't love the other type of retail technology that people seem to be really interested in these days which is location-based advertising it's great it's I detected the specific technology behind it will vary but it's usually something like like a Bluetooth Low Energy kind of like beacons it's you know an unobtrusively placed somewhere that well interact probably with your phone or wearable device and say hey Juliet there's you know a sale on I don't know granola bars down this down this aisle so you know yes oh I hate that yeah another way for them to put more advertising in front of us it's uh yeah brave new world huh that's something else because I mean there's already obviously targeted advertising that's not exactly new and even somewhat location-based advertising based rest based on your IP address like if I'm here I get you know if I type in I want I need a haircut I type in salons you know into Google and they're gonna show me salons that are around me if I go home they're gonna show me salons that are near my home if I go to Los Angeles they're gonna show me salons in Los Angeles and similar advertising so that is something that at this point I'm comfortable with and I think that most consumers are it's just if you want to get a haircut you're gonna have to you know learn to deal with that so it's kind of interesting yeah that's oh I don't really like that VTech yeah I mean there it's it definitely does feel different you know to you know if it's on the one hand them understanding where your IP address you know is fairly gross you know not very granular level is kind of okay you know you get those funny ads that say something like oh hey Summerville resident or whatever yeah but yeah it's definitely a bit different when it's you know the phone that's right there on your person yeah and they're in Aisle three in the granola bars in Aisle five yes it's um I yeah it's a little off-putting I agree yeah I think so this is something the sort of IOT technology is coming into its own and has sort of sort of grow towards the tail end of last year and as you predict is going to sort of become more widespread in 2019 what are your thoughts about it um I think it'll still be a you know a fairly slow evolution 2019 I think you're gonna start seeing things like you know I mean Amazon's already got like the go store up and running in a few locations I think mostly in Seattle and you know so you'll start seeing you know more more pilot programs more you know trial runs I I don't think 2019 we'll see a lot of you know just really widespread uptake you know it's not gonna you know these technologies aren't gonna become ubiquitous overnight or anything like that but you know within the next 2-3 years maybe they could become a lot more common yeah Wow yeah I kind of want to go to one of those Amazon go stores and just sort of see what it's like and like look it I don't know if any of our viewers have been to an Amazon go store I want to hear about it let us know because that seems so creepy to me so did you like – do you feel that cameras watching you I don't know so I will say in fairness they in the the video the little you know proof of concept video that amazon has they do make the food look pretty good so so maybe it's worth it possibly you know you give and you take so what so is this sort of beacon technology that you're talking about before that like low the Bluetooth granola bars in Aisle five is that has that really been rolled out I'm sorry if you already mentioned that oh no um I don't think it's I think it you know it's the same kind of thing I think that probably you know some companies have a few stores where they're trying it out but I it's it's certainly not widespread yet no um and I don't think you know and for the reasons we outlined I don't think it's gonna be you know something that people are gonna you know these businesses are gonna rush to get out there just because you know people are gonna obviously get annoyed at that I think but again you know 2019 you probably see a few more of them 2020 2021 if it turns out this is a concept that you know is work and it doesn't you know drive people to crazy then that's when you'll probably see it's even a little bit more widespread in what sort of IOT devices are traditional retail or traditional you know brick-and-mortar retailers using right now if any if they're really anything that affects the consumer um I would I wouldn't say so I say most of you know the you know big commonplace IOT texts that are being used are kind of you know are you have to do more with the supply chain and all that sort of thing but you know advice the probably they are you know improved device security and you know just looking for inventory you can track of stuff like that um that's you know that's a possibility certainly but it's yeah I mean IOT and sort of the front of the store and a brick-and-mortar is not you know a super common thing I would say yeah because I mean to me it makes sense for a retailers to be using just as any other business would be using services and then a and you know that's also there's also the point to be made there that you know larger you know larger maybe not necessarily like I'm a little mom-and-pop store but like larger retailers will use IOT in the way that you know other large businesses will you know if it's just you know having you know building management stuff security you know having the HVAC you know hooked up to an IOT hub right um yeah that's just that's a sort of general enterprise IOT and you briefly mentioned using IOT devices to sort of track inventory is that something that retailers use now yeah it's you know it's the same sort of principle as you know just the the little metal guys you'd find in books before you bought them free no from the bookstore yeah as people used to do but yes similar kinds of you know just um you know asset tracking technology and you know I think you're probably just going to see them in you know new and different you know types of goods yeah and those are things that are helpful to the consumer because if I want to know if target is in stock of Bounty paper towels I want to be able to see like how many the target near me has and if I can go pick it up right then there that's nice and that's convenient to the consumer so not all IOT technology needs to feel scary no absolutely and that's and that's a great idea actually just being able to yeah having that kind of visibility into the stocks and so forth but um yeah I would really like that as a consumer so in your 2019 predictions article John wrote an article for Network world that will also reference and link that you could so you can see it is a really funny sort of something about Walmart using like biometrics they tell me about this this is fascinating to be I I'm gonna disappoint you slightly because I actually didn't wasn't able to find out a huge amount about this just because it's you know it's a pilot program it's you know something they're just kind of toying with but yeah it's a biometric system with the biometric system that you know when you have your hands on the shopping cart will read your vital signs and presumably track you through the store so what are we talking about with these things not being creepy yeah I think I can't imagine like pushing a shopping cart in it telling me my heart rate see that never seems to work for me when it's on treadmills at the gym yeah I honestly don't get it it's it seems like you know oh your vital signs are kind of crappy move steer you towards I don't know some healthier diet choices or something oh that would be so creepy yeah I'm also a little high-handed I think let me live my life that would actually be really really oh that's like really scary oh I don't like that at all retailers are just desperate to learn as much as possible about us you know shopping you know shopping online they have you know all sorts of built-in tools to learn you know everything they need to know about you know you know your demographic info and so you know real-world retailers are just you know they want that same kind of advantage and you know IOT tech is one of the ways I think they're going about it so yeah Wow that'll be really interesting to see what sort of rolls out in 2019 it's I think that there's obviously not all I think the message that I we do want to send is not all IOT needs to feel creepy and bad but it's it'll be an interesting sort of debate and I'm sure people will be talking about it if there are these sort of devices that are that feel like they're invading customers privacy absolutely um like I you know I'm sure you can probably tell from the you know the tone of the conversation which you know end of the spectrum I fall towards but yeah you know and it's certainly an issue that's worth keeping an eye on as the technology advances as things become you know a little bit more widely distributed yeah sure it's something to keep an eye on and I think it'll be also interesting to see how customers privacy rights how how customer privacy rights especially in the us

become for more protected as there's more backlash especially with the II use GDP are like that's they're really settling into protecting citizens privacy and how and the difference I mean we don't have that in the US and maybe if further laws protecting consumer privacy if that will affect this sort of data mining by companies because it you don't realize how frequently big companies are just learning everything about you yeah I mean you can be aware of it too you know and you know with people sort of in technology I suppose we're you know arguably better informed about it than you know a lot of a lot of people actually it does sort of you know like I was talking about it sort of underlines the fact that you know the you know extent to which you know these companies can delve into you know your personal information and you know like I say the fact that you know brick-and-mortar retailers or you know just I would you know gung-ho for catching up it's it seems like yeah it definitely seems like some kind of legislation you know might be a good idea in the future just because yeah you know the mark the reach of marketing companies into our into our data is getting a little scary and you mentioned and you mentioned brick-and-mortar stores sort of trying to play catch-up do you think that the use of these devices is in response to the huge online marketplace or do you think it's just it just is just because technology has advanced and they would have done it anyway I'll split the difference honestly I think it's a combination that you know they're probably taking a bath you know next to you know online retailers like Amazon and also that you know it's actually the technology for you know very small computing devices is actually advanced to the point where you know if some of these things may cost you know make sense from a cost-benefit point of view yeah and I guess you know without we wouldn't have these advances in technology without also having a growing online marketplace you know all sitting it's all advances in technology very true that's really interests you so much John this was bent has been enlightening and informing there is so much more to IOT retail than those doorbells that show you who is at your house and you can unlock your door for them thank you again for joining us John really appreciate it and thank you to all of you for watching Tech Talk be sure to subscribe to the Tech Talk YouTube channel like this video if you enjoyed it or if you think that IOT devices in retail scope stores could feel a little bit creepy and be sure to subscribe to our channel we'll be here every Tuesday Thursday and Friday talking all things tech thanks so much for watching and we'll see you later

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