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Unlocking the power of IoT in retail and manufacturing


A look at how IoT devices are improving operations across stores, warehouses and factories.

Read time: 2 minutes

The world of retail and manufacturing has become increasingly competitive. And the demand for better, faster, more connected experiences is driving businesses to demand the same of their technology.

That’s where the power Internet of Things (IoT) comes in.

As one of the fastest-growing sectors of smart devices and the most diverse in terms of applications, extensive networks of IoT devices are now being leveraged across almost all industries. In retail, manufacturing and consumer packaged goods (CPG), these technologies are improving every step of the way – from production to shelf stocking and everything in between.

Here’s a look at some of the ways IoT is transforming stores, warehouses and production plants.

Smart Stores

In-store technologies are taking traditional brick-and-mortar to the next level, helping retailers maximize productivity and profitability while enhancing customer experience. These IoT-enabled solutions can range from advanced self-checkout kiosks that eliminate the need for scanning¹, to smart mirrors that read RFID tags on clothing and display other available sizes and colors, and even digital media or beacons that track movement and display personalized promotions.

For retailers, IoT devices are creating more immersive and connected shopping experiences that also reduce staffing costs, drive productivity, and optimize the use of physical space.

Smart Warehouses

The pace of today’s consumer market has put the pressure on warehousing and logistics to not only accelerate operations but do so more accurately and at reduced costs. Thankfully, technology is improving everything from fulfillment to shipping and tracking.

In fact, autonomous mobile robots and robotic arms are IoT-enabled with GPS technology that now helps them move independently through a warehouse or fulfillment center to retrieve products, deliver them to workers or even place them directly into carts. They create more streamlined backend processes for retailers while reducing order errors, workplace injuries, and can even collect detailed analytics for data-driven decisions.

Smart Factories

Of the manufacturing segments, CPG companies making significant headway in their digital and analytics transformations are, as a result, seeing notable improvements across a range of KPIs like productivity, sustainability, agility and speed to market.² The differentiator? A robust network of IoT devices and sensors.

These solutions can provide critical equipment monitoring and predictive maintenance to ensure uninterrupted operations. And with sensors for just about every aspect of building management, such as temperature, humidity, security and motion, IoT can help operators better manage the factory environment for improved sustainability and workplace safety.

Making the most of IoT networks

As the number of IoT devices continues to grow in retail and retail-adjacent industries, it’s imperative that operators have the right solutions in place to manage, scale and effectively leverage them for long-term benefits.

IoT hubs, command or service centers can provide the centralized management and bi-directional communications needed between devices and their applications. One of the most significant advantages of this type of solution is the ability to automate actions for known issues without human intervention, such as automated device shutdowns or restarts. Additionally, these platforms can integrate with other systems to initiate workflows like service repairs or software updates.

Getting started in IoT

Did you know multi-function printers are IoT devices? The advanced capabilities of today’s MFPs make them the perfect, entry-level device for starting off with an IoT service or command center.

For all the features you know your MFP has, and more that you may not — let us show you what our latest solution for remote device management and monitoring can do for your fleet of Ricoh or third-party devices.

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  1. 1Forbes, Coming to Stores: A New Type of Self-Checkout Where No Scanning is Required
  2. 2McKinsey & Company, The Digital Future of Manufacturing Consumer Packaged Goods