Retailers concerned over impact of AI & IoT

Nearly three quarters of retail professionals believe that artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) will be the biggest IT challenges over the next five years.

A study of 200 retail professionals carried out by cloud solutions firm Cradlepoint for this year’s RetailEXPO event, found that 72 per cent saw new technologies including AI and connected devices as the main disruptors of the next half decade.

However, despite these concerns over new technologies, 75 per cent of businesses are still battling against more basic challenges, such as unplanned network downtime and outages during peak business hours.

Ten per cent of retail businesses surveyed said they encountered network redundancy and connectivity issues “regularly”, but more than a quarter (26 per cent) of retail professionals said they did not have a network redundancy plan.

Jason Wells, vice president and general manager EMEA at Cradlepoint, said: “For retail organisations, unplanned network outages can impact both revenue and reputation significantly, so it is surprising to see many retail organisations have still not adopted the right technology solutions to mitigate this risk.

“Fast, reliable network connectivity in the form of wireless Internet is already widely available – both as an emergency failover and as a primary connectivity option,” he continued, adding: “AI and IoT are exciting technologies, but retailers need to prioritise the foundations of these now – and that’s reliable internet connectivity.”

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