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The retail apocalypse is upon us. Thousands of stores are expected to close in the next few years, and experts predict that 25 percent of malls in the U.S. will shutter their doors by 2022 as people continue to purchase more goods online.3 Although brick-and-mortar stores aren’t expected to go away completely, retailers will need to change how they are used. If these retailers are to survive, let alone thrive, they’ll need to tap into the flow of data from sources such as video and other IoT devices that tell them about the physical world in and around their stores, including their customers’ behavior.
This data can help retailers better understand how shoppers are using their stores, as well as help them fine-tune their inventory and the customer experience. For example, with video analytics such as people counting, a store owner can automatically determine how many people walk past the store versus how many enter. They can then try different window displays or signage to determine which changes drive increased store visits. Once consumers enter the store, the retailer can combine in-store analytics with other information to gain insights into valuable questions like: Where do consumers spend the most time? Which products are they interacting with? Which products are they looking at and not buying, but later buying online? This understanding will help retailers provide an optimized, omnichannel experience that their customers will both love and reward with their purchases.
By 2030, traffic gridlock in the U.S will increase by 50 percent and cost Americans $186 billion annually.5 As if the economic cost weren’t bad enough, the human cost is worse – air pollution kills more than 7 million people worldwide per year.6 More effective, efficient and sustainable transportation is key to a livable environment, and physical-world data can help. For example, IoT data can help cities optimize public transit, maximizing ridership and fostering sustainability. With data generated by smart video cameras and other devices, transit organizations can deploy the exact number of buses and trains to meet demand, give passengers real-time information about capacity, and deliver a public transit experience that encourages broader use.
Data from IoT devices can also help cities optimize their current infrastructure – an important consideration for densely populated urban areas. For example, traffic cameras can track how many bikes, cars, trucks and buses drive down a street, where people park, and where congestion occurs. They can also detect people in the crosswalk to help reduce or even eliminate pedestrian fatalities. City planners can use simulations to test changes without interrupting actual traffic. They can then identify ways to improve traffic flow, such as changing parking spaces to passenger loading zones for frequent double-parking problem areas.