Internet of Things Update: Motorola Solutions CTO Sees “Intelligent” Retail Stores

While the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to be the subject of mind-boggling projections, major companies—including our partner Motorola Solutions—are working to develop new mobile technologies that will solve real-world business problems.

“The ‘Internet of Things’—technologists’ vision of a network of billions of connected devices—has attracted the attention of a number of tech giants—including Cisco, Intel, and General Electric—all of whom have internal business units dedicated to building the infrastructure for that network,” The Washington Post said this month in a report on the impact IoT will have on the training of IT professionals.

BusinessInsider.com this month predicted “the number of everyday and enterprise devices that will soon be connected to the Internet—from parking meters to home thermostats—will be huge” (1.9 billion devices today, and 9 billion by 2018, according to estimates, roughly equal to the number of smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, wearable computers, and PCs combined). It will drive trillions in economic value as it permeates consumer and business life.

Cisco’s CEO said last week that within a few years, the IoT will be a $19 trillion market, with $2.9 trillion for manufacturing alone. John Chambers called it a backbone of Cisco’s business strategy. And Microsoft is beefing up its IoT team, according to ZDNet. “A handful of universities have designed data-science programs to prepare students to work on Internet of Things projects,” the report said.

Motorola Solutions’ Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer Paul Steinberg wrote last month about the IoT and the future of retail. He said, “With the Internet of Things, stores will become intelligent. By using sensors, video, RFID, precise location data, and analytic technologies, store managers will have visibility to everyone and everything within the store. This will enable the detection and capture of various ‘events’ and the transformation of these static and real-time events into actions that are mobilized—something we call ‘capture, transform, and mobilize.'”

Steinberg listed as benefits:

  • “New levels of personalization for shoppers based on their known profiles, online shopping activities, and actions in the store”
  • Better-informed associates
  • A store that is “intelligent,” able to “track assets, people, and products, and provide a perpetual view of inventory and all important activities on the store floor and in the warehouse”

A Motorola Solutions video explores the role of Motorola wireless large area networks in a retail world embracing IoT. It points out that a WLAN can facilitate asset tracking, loss prevention, video management systems, electronic price labels, and energy management.

One IoT application that companies are already taking advantage of is vehicle location tracking, which requires the wide-area coverage made possible by solutions like Motorola’s MOTOTRBO Commercial Systems. These systems deliver simple, affordable voice and data communication with the option to buy monthly airtime service on a regional two-way radio network.

MOTOTRBO Connect Plus, meanwhile, accommodates high-volume, wide-area communication through multisite digital trunking. And MOTOTRBO Anywhere turns a wide area into an unlimited area by using the Internet to accomplish the sharing of voice and data applications, such as GPS location tracking.

Clearly, the Internet of Things will have a huge impact on the future of wireless. The key will be finding IoT solutions that solve real problems and having the infrastructure in place to make them work.

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