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IT strategies embrace 'internet of things'

By Retail Technology | Wednesday November 6 2013

Global IT vendor urges enterprises to network internet addressable components to maximise benefits of latest IT automation and delivery

Global IT company Fujitsu is urging enterprises to embrace technologies that enable the emerging trend known as the "internet of things".

Delegates attending its annual European customer conference in Munich this week were told that how the concept could help optimise operations, save energy and reduce the cost of maintenance, as well as deliver higher levels of IT availability.

Holding up a light bulb with internet protocol (IP) connective capability, Dr Joseph Reger, Fujitsu international business chief technology officer, admitted that such components may be more expensive, but remove the need for extra IT infrastructure.

Fostering future innovation

"Then you can automate and innovate on top of this," he said. "So you can use a smartphone, for example, to talk to a gateway and from there communicate with the bulb using proprietary protocols."

This would allow remote control of the bulb in to save energy when it is not needed or carry out remote diagnostics in order to preempt it blowing.

"Your smartphone could even sense you're in a DIY store and contact the bulb to find out if it needs to send an alert to say 'you're in this store, so buy a replacement bulb,'" added Dr Reger.

Exploring technology opportunities

He also predicted as a result of this trend that the numbers of internet-connected devices would increase five-fold by 2020, a forecast that was supported by some of the thoughts of Fujitsu's enterprise customers.

Mark Fabes, McDonalds UK digital and IT director, said he could certainly see the internet of things playing a role in better integrated  customer-facing environments, such as his own company's restaurants. 

"Whether it's a freezer or frier, the question is how do we connect it to the network and manage it," said Fabes. He added that the concept could help "manage our restaurants in a smarter way".

But he also expressed some reservations. "But how you would broaden that out into the ways we interact with consumers, I'm not sure," he said.

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