The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Instant-on Industry Perspective – Retail (4th in the series)

In response to the series of instant-on posts this week, I was asked if this is just a technical foundation that enables all industries or is there an industry specific flavor (if so what would it look like?). Since we live in an “and not or” world, anyone who reads my posts would know the answer was: both. Here is an example of a possible instant-on retail scenario:


coffee phone 2.jpgSince coffee consumption seems to be an experience that is familiar to almost everyone, imagine a customer walks into their local favorite java joint (naturally one that has thousands of stores worldwide). In a nanosecond, a sensor in the store recognizes this customer’s smart phone ID and finds her previous purchase history in the company’s CRM system. The CRM system understands that this customer’s favorite drink is a double latte with an amaretto shot and that she tried the egg sandwich on her last visit. The system sorts through available offers for cross-sell opportunities and can recognize the context of the situation. Based on the time of day and previous purchase behavior, it predicts an 85 percent chance that this customer would order an egg sandwich if it were half-price but only 10% otherwise. If she has expressed interest in these types of offers, her smart phone now displays the store’s own ordering app and asks her if she’d like “the usual.” It also displays a coupon for the half-off breakfast sandwich. With the press of a button, she orders the coffee and the sandwich, and authorizes payment—without ever having to wait in line or talk to the cashier. The smart phone app shows a countdown of when her order will be ready.


These are the kinds of implementations that are possible when a business moves beyond data into behavior. When you can sense patterns and likely actions and make it easy for the consumer to want to extend the relationship. When business can take advantage of the sensors and relationships that already exist around us.


In many cases the computing, networking, sensing and information is out there, we just need to take advantage of the opportunities before us.


I just noticed that Tom Hogan has a video about the instant-on enterprise that some may find helpful:

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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