Internet of Things set to strengthen retail sales as smart sensors hit the High Street

The Internet of Things will boost retail sales, says an electronics wholesaler, as 1,000 smart sensors are set to track UK High Street footfall.

Raimund Hahn, CEO of Rhino Inter Group, a wholesale groups for electronic goods, is convinced that the Internet of Things, in other words the connection of all kinds of everyday objects to the internet, will give retailers an enormous boost over the next few years.

According to Hahn, all manner of internet-connected devices, from coffee machines and electric toothbrushes to washing machines, will soon be launched to the market, virtually putting people wishing to lead a modern lifestyle under an obligation to buy these new products.

“Within a few years, millions upon millions of everyday objects will seem hopelessly outdated to consumers, just because they are not connected to the internet,” says Raimund Hahn.

“There’s only one solution to this problem – to buy new connected versions.”

Hahn believes that the main companies to benefit from this boom will be manufactures and retailers. The CEO of Rhino expects the buying frenzy prompted by the Internet of Things to result in a significant boost for retailers.

His comments come as 1,000 smart sensors are set to monitor High Street footfall across the UK. 

The Local Data Company (LDC), in partnership with University College London (UCL) and the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) are to deploy the sensors as part of the UK’s largest study into High Street footfall patterns and impacts.

The Economic and Social Research Council-funded SmartStreetSensor Project is to be the most comprehensive study of footfall patterns across Britain to date. Some 1,000 sensors will measure live footfall in 81 towns and cities across the UK.

The locations have been chosen in order to offer a wide geographical spread, differing demographic profiles and a range of town centre profiles.

LDC has spent 18 months developing and testing its SmartStreetSensor which has been developed and built in the UK. LDC has partnered with UCL and the CDRC to provide the technology and a dashboard for the analysis and interpretation of the live feed of footfall data.

This specific project is focused on high streets and not shopping centres and retail parks, however, this is planned to follow in future studies.

The SmartStreetSensor devices will use calibration methodology to ensure the most accurate feed of data. This process ensures that the devices only register people walking past a specific shop and thus reflect the opportunities shop owners have to influence their immediate high street.

The data is then sent anonymously, analysed and stored in LDC’s data warehouse before being presented through LDC’s highly visual live dashboards. Measures from all of the stores within a given centre will then be made available for reseach use, and will be made available through the website.

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