The Internet of Things is expected to hit a record-setting $287 billion in retail revenue ($224 billion wholesale) in 2016, according to the Consumer Technology Association (formerly the Consumer Electronics Association).
Whereas more established home entertainment products including televisions were the stars of the consumer electronics category, new smart home technology and wearables are growing in popularity. As the annual technology trade show and conference CES begins in Las Vegas today, new innovations are what will be on retailers' shopping lists, according to Patrick McIntyre, VP of innovation and strategy, Best Buy.
"Most of our work right now is focused on early stage technology—we're trying to understand what's disruptive and innovative," McIntyre said. "A lot of that technology tends to be in 'connected' devices,' that is, devices that are connected to the Internet and one another. It can be anything from a fork to a flower pot—it's taking mundane stuff in our lives and making it connected to the web. And we're starting to see more artificial intelligence being rolled into these products. Now your stuff isn't just connected, but it's actually intelligent in that it will proactively try to do something for you instead of just waiting for you to do something with it."
"CES gives us a chance to see that stuff," he said. "Our goal is to figure out what could be commercialized and help to make that happen faster."
McIntyre and other retailers will be at CES looking for new products and technology that could start showing up in stores in time for Holiday 2017.
"As more products become connected, we'll be able to manage our lives in ways that weren't possible even just a few years ago," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. "The exponential growth of the IoT and the lightning-fast speed of innovation are key reasons we'll see such strong growth across so many tech categories. Highly sophisticated technology is becoming more affordable and accessible—improving our safety, productivity and entertainment."
In addition to IoT, 3D printing, virtual reality and drones are expected to draw interest.
-See this CTA press release
-See this Best Buy blog post
Target makes big IoT statement with 'Open House' shop
Target adding 'smart home' sections in stores
Target CEO Cornell places big bet on technology
IoT worth its hype; $1.2 trillion impact on retail predicted
Ikea banks on Internet of Things as basis for 'Concept Kitchen 2025'