IoT Predictions for 2019: Less Hype, More Pragmatism
represents less of a risk for enterprise companies. But the role of the “digital transformation” banner in 2019 is anything but certain. In the past few years, the buzzword was predominately referred to high-risk, high-reward-type projects that create wholly new markets. Frequent examples include Amazon’s reinvention of itself as a cloud leader, Apple’s pioneering work in digital music, Uber’s reinvention of the taxi experience and Airbnb’s idea of private property into hotels.
But with recession fears looming, digital transformation is likely to grow more disciplined on operational efficiency and less on outright transformation in 2019. A group of 10 economists including the U.S. Federal Reserve project the U.S. economy to grow at a sluggish rate of 2.4 percent next year. With several economists such as Joseph LaVorgna, chief economist for the Americas at Natixis projecting a recession in 2020, it is likely that many enterprise companies will rein in plans for ambitious digital transformation efforts and shift their focus on projects with a short-term ROI.
The situation will likely be different in the beleaguered brick-and-mortar retail sector, which is being compelled to invest in digital technology to compete with online merchants. IDC expects \half of all retailers will deploy a digital core platform by the end of 2019. As we describe in the next item, retail giants including Amazon and Walmart are beginning to ambitiously deploy digital technology in physical store to help transform the customer experience.
Cashierless Stores Will Begin to Mushroom
We may be in an early phase of a shift toward widespread use of automation in retail environments, but the transition is picking up steam. Already, Amazon has opened up a handful of its cashierless Amazon Go stores — in Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco. It is planning on opening another in London. While the costs of outfitting a retail environment with the necessary sensors to do away with sensors may be substantial, there is a clear potential benefit in terms of time savings for customers. Walmart is also getting in the game and is opening a cashierless members-only “Sam’s Club Now” in Texas. Powered by an app, the Sam’s Club Now experience may do away with checkers, but it adds a role of “Member Host,” who will act as a sort of concierge. Shoppers in the retail environment will also have access to wayfinding in the app, that guides them to items on their shopping list. Speaking of shopping lists, the store’s app will use machine learning to attempt to predict what consumers need. Walmart’s experience with the Dallas-based cashierless retail environment will likely lay the groundwork for a broader use of the technology across the United States. Similarly, Venture Beat suggests that Amazon is looking to rollout its own cashierless stores in airports while Grubstreet reports that the company is testing the technology in bigger retail environments than its first roughly 2,500-square-feet Amazon Go retail environments.
While Amazon’s intent to automatically track customers’ purchases is impressive, Walmart’s experience using an app to have a customer manually scan purchases with a smartphone could provide a template for other retailers to emulate before taking the plunge in investing heavily in sensors and computer vision technology that completely automates the process.
Cybercriminals Will Ramp up Machine-Learning-Based Attacks
It seemed that machine learning was nearly omnipresent in 2018, and that most companies with digital projects were either…