Improving business practices with the Location of Things

August 25, 2016

Posted by: George Malim

Jonathan Duffy, Netclearance

In his first blog post, John Duffy from Netclearance introduced the Location of Things (or LoT) concept and discussed how adding context to data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT) in terms of location, can add real value to the IoT.

Corporations and organisations can improve their business practices by using LoT technology within their existing systems and bring IoT right into the workplace. For example, monitoring whether a meeting room is being used or if a visitor wonders into a confidential area of the building by mistake. Beacons allow businesses to track employees and visitors as soon as they enter the building using a smart badge.

Let’s take a closer look at how the retail and hospitality industries can use IoT to bring real world value to the business.

Streamlining operations in retail

Retailers today are looking for effective ways to streamline operations and increase revenue per square footage. To do this, they need real-time information at their fingertips. This allows them to find out:

In an industry characterised by fine margins where the smallest percentage can make significant impacts on overall profit, it’s imperative to deliver exactly what the customer wants, quickly and easily. LoT can make this level of customer experience a reality by providing the necessary information.

LoT can combine location with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices such as smartphones, smart badges, shelf sensors, merchandise sensors. This allows retail businesses to track and communicate with customers. The beacons can even be set up to accept payment for merchandise from a mobile wallet.

With LoT retailers will also be able to find out how often a customer shops at your store.

Workforce management

If you know if your employees are on the sales floor, at the cash register, or in the stock room as well as when customers are queuing or dwelling in particular parts of the store, you can efficiently plan your staff requirements and send notifications in real time if there is a staffing need in an area of the store.

Where is that box?

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is a sensor technology based on smart tags, which are attached to different items. The microchip in the tag stores a small amount of data and comes with a small radio frequency transceiver that transmits the data at predetermined intervals.

RFID labels contain more information than a barcode label. An RFID label will tell you not only that the item is a green t-shirt but also exactly which green t-shirt it is.

For example, if you order a batch of t-shirts in various colours and styles, with RFID labels you can follow those shirts from manufacture to arrival in your store. Once the t-shirt has been manufactured and packaged, the package is labelled with an active RFID tag containing the information about its content – smart packaging.

Retailers can follow the green t-shirt from the moment of manufacture to its arrival in the store via the RFID label:

Using RFID labels, you know which colours and sizes are the best sellers. You can easily keep track of when sales happen, and determine what to order and when.

Hospitality: generate on-site engagement with guests

Resorts and hotels have many moving parts – guests checking in and out, bags being moved, and food getting served. Every hour of every day, guests are in their rooms, or lounging in the resort spa, restaurant, bar, or poolside. There are many ways that premiere resorts can benefit by implementing LoT technology into their services.

Those are just a few highlights that scratch the surface when it comes to how LoT and beacon technology can be used in businesses. In John’s next blog post in this series, he will discuss mobile marketing and the location of things and how it can be the best combination for retailers to improve their business marketing practices.