More smart things are moving into stores. Among many other connected or smart devices at the National Retail Federation Big Show in New York this week was the smart shelf. Smart shelves are hardly a new concept and have been around for years, but developments in sensors and connectivity are now making them more practical.
Some smart appliances may find their way into consumer homes without the consumer having to pay. The idea is that retailers may provide their customers with a smart ordering device, similar in functionality to Amazon's Echo, but with products ordered coming from the retailer. Rather than marketing the product to consumers, NCR and Freshub are jointly marketing it to retailers, most notably in a major display at the National Retail Federation Big Show at the Javits Center in New York this week.
Samsung is taking the Internet of Things to retail. At the National Retail Federation Big Show in New York today, Samsung and SapientRazorfish are introducing IoT tools intended to link online and in-store shopping activities. Incorporating IoT, data analytics and mobile technologies, the companies are showcasing a customer journey inside an apparel store with synchronization to back office systems. The customer journey technologies include all activities from a consumer entering a store to paying by mobile just before they leave.
Every year kicks off with the mega CES show in Las Vegas, where all the latest consumer electronics gadgetry for the next year is introduced. And every year, that event is followed a short time later by the National Retail Federation Big Show at the Javits Center in New York. In addition to the difference in size, with CES dominating with 165,000 attendees compared to 33,000 at the NRF event, the shows traditionally have a different focus, one on consumer electronics and the other on solutions for retailers.
In true IoT fashion, even smartphones will be getting smarter in the near future. More than 300 million smartphones will have machine learning capabilities in the devices within the next 12 months, according to one of a series of new 2017 predictions by Deloitte. These machine-learning capabilities also will be found in tens of millions of drones, tablets, cars, virtual and augmented reality devices and numerous other IoT devices, based on the study.
After spending several days with the consumer electronics industry at CES in Last Vegas, it was quite obvious that the market now sees the Internet of Things as a very big deal. To help numerically add icing to that electronic cake, IDC just came out with an updated IoT forecast and it matches the scope seen at CES. For the last year, worldwide IoT spending is now pegged at $737 billion as organizations invested in hardware, software, services and connectivity.
License plates are about to be turned into digital screens that display the traditional number information when the car is moving but convert to digital advertising when the car is parked. In a sign that the connected car is going to involve more than just Internet connectivity, a company at the auto show in Detroit this week is introducing a digital license plate. The rPlate and information platform comes from Reviver in partnership with motor vehicle departments.
There was no shortage of robots at CES this year. Some are very short and can roam about the house, acting as a hub with connections to various smart appliances and objects. Many I saw throughout CES are more ideas and concepts rather than actual buyable units in the U.S.
One of the striking evolutions of the Internet of Things highlighted at this year's CES is the scope of major brand involvement in very many ways. However, this not an age of a PC operating systems, such as Microsoft entering and dominating a market, at a particular time in history. The Iot market is much bigger than that. At CES two years ago, there was an inkling that the Internet of Things -- or at least mass connectivity -- caught the attention of some rather large global players.
Before the official opening of each annual CES in Las Vegas, the industry organization behind the show comes out with a look ahead, and this year the major theme is the Internet of Things. Some interesting tidbits about CES itself were laid out by Shawn DuBravac, chief economist at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which used to be called the Consumer Electronics Association. DuBravac traditionally kicks off the week with a presentation on the state of the market. This is the 50th year of CES, which used to be called the Consumer Electronics Show.