Last week I attended the annual Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference, which took place in Scottsdale, Arizona. One interesting thing that stood out to me is the ever-growing importance of the customer experience. Companies are learning how to use technology to now personalize every single interaction that people have with a certain product or brand. An example of this is Coca-Cola. The photo featured in this posting is of a number of uniquely individual Coca-Cola labels that were created with 3D printing technology. Each label is embedded with a watermark that is undetectable to the human eye, but can be picked up by cleverly placed sensors throughout retail stores. These sensors track what products are being picked up, and in conjunction with customer loyalty programs, those sensors can now make recommendations of snacks or other items you may want along side the Coca-Cola you picked up.
This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to reach 50 billion endpoints by 2025. To put that in perspective, there are a mere 5 billion endpoints today. The sheer amount of data that will be generated via IoT is mind-boggling. In fact, at the Gartner conference, it was mentioned that 70% of all data being collected via IoT is not even accessed. People don't know what to do with the information once they have it. Companies are now moving from collecting all this data to figuring out what to do with it. There are limitations today with data--it is often filtered through a decision-making process that involves human interaction. The technology that is emerging now enables companies to apply machine learning to areas like demand management so that data can be leveraged to more accurately predict demand. We're not that far from a scenario where smart machines in combination with IoT are becoming autonomous. What advancements have you seen in your buying experiences? Let us know in the comments!
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