Future-proofing your IoT
How do we know today's tech won't be obsolete in a few years?
You need to choose technology and components that can easily be built out further, and that contribute to the longevity of the systems. It's a good idea to get as much of your data as possible into a modern flexible system; your first step should be shifting your PoS data into an environment where you can also include data from the mobile app which is linked back to a device or customer ID. So even if you have legacy systems, like old PoS, look at how you can get that data into a new cloud based platform – that way you future-proof that data without necessarily having to update your entire PoS system.
When looking at hardware systems, it's important to make sure they fit the bill too. New doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be entirely future proof. Look for open systems with flexible APIs, configurable databases, flexible reporting – these are critical for systems that will play nicely with others and will continue to do so into the future.
Taking beacons as an example, because we're hearing a lot about them lately: Bluetooth as a protocol has been around for a long time, and BLE has provided a new and more affordable way to power those beacons and put them in a retail environment. The way beacons have changed – lower energy and reduced power consumption – will continue to improve over time. You'll see advances in physical size too. You'll get smaller beacons with bigger range and longer battery life, using the same protocol but becoming more practical to use. There is a perception that Bluetooth is a drain on the device battery, but we'll see that improve in the phone hardware as well.
And wearables will encourage more beacon use; as people start using more wearable tech that requires Bluetooth to connect, you'll see an increase in the number of people with Bluetooth enabled on their phone, and the use of beacons for in-store marketing will make even more sense.