Internet of Things will be in clothes, food and a trillon products by 2020
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EVRYTHNG already has deals in place that should see ten million apparel items made by well-known brands fitted with digital tags in the next two years
@WiredUK: By 2020, everything from clothes to food will be connected to the web #WIREDRetail @EVRYTHNG
Around ten packaging companies are responsible for more than 50 per cent of products distributed around the world – as soon as any of them begins to digitise those products, we are going to see “radical change”.
Niall Murphy knows this, because as CEO and co-founder of EVRYTHNG, he and his team are working to connect every physical product to the web. Speaking at WIRED Retail, at London’s British Museum, he said: “This vision is gradually happening – and by end of this decade, we will be seeing a trillion digitised products a year.”
EVRYTHNG already has deals in place that should see ten million apparel items made by well-known brands fitted with digital tags in the next two years, and 20 billion food and beverage items tagged over the next 24 to 36 months. Our world, and everything in it, is gradually becoming “inherently digitally capable”.
“We’ve been through the automation process and are now entering the smart product era. 3.5 trillion products are made and sold every year, and there is a wide range of technologies allowing digital tech to find its way in; Bluetooth beacons sewn into clothing items, for instance.
“We think of smart cars and refrigerators, but 90 per cent of product volume is in things like bottles of wine and apparel.”
Companies are already attaching digital identifiers to clothing at the point of production, says Murphy, before they enter the supply chain. They can then be tracked across the course of their life to help bring some of the personalisation consumers have come to expect from the digital world, into the physical retail environment.
If a proportion of the trillions of products being sold every year become digitised, they will become “active digital points of interaction” with manufacturers of those products shifting gear to “become one of biggest media providers in the world”.
Murphy gave the example of a clothing company trialling smart clothing, where a jacket can act as a loyalty tool to let you buy things, a passkey to clubs and more. Brands, on the other hand, can track that product through its lifecycle to “drive experiences and interactions as it moves through the world”. Being smart with that data, and using it to understand consumer behaviour and drive returns, will be key to whether this approach succeeds or fails for individual brands.
When we have the “elephant in the room” of Amazon forever at the forefront of the retail industry, applying real-time data aggressively, Murphy warned the audience, “you better get yourself into a position to use your own data, if you want tools for survival”.