There are more IoT devices in the world than humans, according to Gartner. Brick-and-mortar retailers—those vying to remain in business—are increasingly aware of the need to “meet customers where they are” in terms of IoT, AI and analytics. Therefore, for many businesses IoT makes a lot of sense. But with new data-driven experiences comes new risk—and it’s more than just security.
When these retailers implement IoT technology, hackers and data breaches aren’t the only issues to consider. Much of the investment involves monetary risk, possible government involvement and more. Ingram Micro’s IoT team has seen it all and is here to help you and your customers avoid IoT pitfalls.
3 retail IoT risks that aren’t about security:
1) Snowballing upfront costs
Enterprise-grade IoT deployment in retail isn’t a cheap, plug-and-play scenario that some companies envision. Depending on the size and scope of the implementation, retailers may experience sticker shock that often comes from sourcing multiple vendors. While large corporations such as Walmart can absorb upfront costs with internal funds, SMBs must thoughtfully consider how long it will take to recoup setup costs. Some upfront, multi-vendor expenses may include:
- Cloud service subscription
- Digital signage
- Contractor fees to lay wiring, build shelving, etc.
- Sensors, sensors and more sensors
- RFID implementation
- Infrared technology
- Store app implementation
Solution: Consider a single vendor that provides an end-to end solution—sensor, gateway, connectivity and software—all in a single package.
2) Increased government surveillance
We’re all aware of security cameras in retail, but do everyday citizens have the right to walk into a store without the government knowing about it? Amazon is being called out for marketing its facial-recognition technology to law enforcement. The software identifies faces and other objects on camera with astounding accuracy, and purportedly tracks individuals in a video even when their faces aren’t visible. Detractors identify this as a major surveillance issue that goes beyond catching bad guys on cameras. They’re concerned that IoT-enabled facial recognition capabilities will be used as government mass surveillance tools for tracking innocent citizens.
Solution: Although you can’t control the government, you and your customers can become empowered through knowledge and education. Leverage a trusted IoT consultant who can walk you through the latest in IoT, facial recognition, privacy and surveillance.
3) Unplanned maintenance fees
Smart stores essentially become mini data centers, and proper maintenance doesn’t always come cheap. Take all the upfront expenses in #1 and now add the cost to maintain and sustain them. What if a sensor gets damaged or stolen? How much is the replacement cost? What if you deployed a multi-sensor IoT setup—one that combines numerous IoT uses on one system—and they all experience unplanned downtime together? These expenses must be considered when deploying IoT in retail.
Solution: Much like #1, a single-vendor IoT platform may save you thousands of dollars, since the same experts are covering you from initial deployment to ongoing maintenance.
Got more IoT-related questions? Interested in a proven, single-vendor IoT platform? Contact Ingram Micro’s IoT team at firstname.lastname@example.org.