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Retailers aren’t letting privacy concerns and issues hold them back from Internet of Things adoption.

That’s according to a new report from PwC, which revealed the retail industry has the highest percentage of companies with active IoT projects (58%) compared with other sectors (hospitality, healthcare and manufacturing). Another 30% of the retailers have IoT projects in a research or development phase. 

Currently, supply chain and asset management are the top priorities. But during the next two years, the sector will also look to bolster employee and customer experience and security, as well as logistics and predictive maintenance, according to PwC.

The report, “In IoT We Trust,” finds that while retailers are very active in the IoT arena, they, like companies in other industries, are worried about a range of “trusted tech.” The majority of retailers (57%) are taking steps to address privacy for both consumers and employees — e.g. by designing security and privacy into IoT initiatives (47%) and taking measures to prevent data breaches (43%).

Retailers also feel strongly about taking responsibility for addressing trust concerns. Sixty-two percent  of them believe individual companies, to a large extent, should be on the hook for security and privacy (compared with 51% of all respondents), while 65% think tech providers, to a large extent, should be responsible (compared with 58% of all respondents). 

In other highlights from the report:

  • Forty-two percent of the surveyed retailers are improving decision-making with IoT and analytics, and 50% expect to do so within two years. These solutions can also enable retailers to deliver promotions to customers on their smartphones, and, when tied into geolocation data and AI, they can even determine when customers are more likely to buy. 
  • By using smart lighting and energy systems in stores and warehouses, retailers can conserve energy and reduce their power bills. IoT has improved facility and energy management for 50% of the retailers surveyed, and an additional 41% expect to see improvements in the next two years.
  • Almost half (49%) are already benefiting from using IoT solutions to improve their supply chain, and 38% expect to see value within two years.
  • Forty-seven percent have already improved the customer experience with IoT, and 43% expect to do so. 
  • Forty-four percent have enhanced security with IoT, and 40% expect to see benefits within two years. For instance, retailers can collect images of individuals who have been identified as shoplifters and then use facial recognition and CCTV video feeds to alert security if they enter a store or mall. 

In addition, retailers can run algorithms on POS data to identify suspicious transactions as they occur, and can link POS data with CCTV footage in real time to identify people making suspicious transactions. 

The full PwC study is linked here, with retail industry specific findings here





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