Remember the Internet… and Lipstick?

The longing for simpler days. Nostalgia. You can’t go home again.

You get the point.

It wasn’t that long ago – perhaps the 1980’s – when billions of people had no exposure to the internet.  Now, according to Internet World Stats, a top provider of current world internet usage, over 4 billion users had tapped into the internet by year end 2017.

total unternet infoWhile over 2 billion of these surfers are located in Asia, the continent of North America boasts the greatest penetration rate, a marketing parameter that indicates the adoption or usage rate.  In North America, the internet adoption rate leads worldwide at 95%.

But we digress.

As connected, innovative devices – and their swift adoption – have expanded exponentially, the idea of simply cruising the internet for information and email with a stand-alone computer seems rudimentary and dated. More recently, people and businesses- and their “smart” devices – have succumbed to vigorously engaging with the Internet of Things (IOT). The wireless virtual assistant at home (Cortana or Siri), the Fitbit that uploads and synchs daily fitness data with smartphones, or the smart thermostat allowing consumers to control the climate in their home remotely are mere samplings of the networked players in the IoT.

A widely used expression to define “the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data,” the IoT was first coined by Britain’s Kevin Ashton, widely considered the father of IoT. Ironically, the term was first presented at a meeting in a relatively low-tech presentation tool – PowerPoint.

In 1999, Ashton was a brand manager at Proctor and Gamble and working on a lipstick launch.  Noticing the shelves were often empty of one particular shade of P&G’s new product, he sought to develop a way to remotely track the quantity of lipstick on display. Excited about the idea of using a radio enabled chip known as RFID (radio-frequency identification) to electronically – and instantly – transmit supply chain data, Ashton was determined to share the concept with his colleagues.

Hence, he created the PowerPoint presentation entitled “the Internet of Things”.

Fast forward to 2018 where the IoT is arguably standard procedure… especially in supply chains.  The IoT delivers numerous efficiencies via asset tracking, supplier relations and inventory forecasting.  The collection and visibility of supply chain data via the IoT not only optimizes the supply chain, it is a key element in improving the customer experience. In fact, the significance of IoT in supply chains has gained such traction that Rutgers University has launched an educational program that specifically explores and explains the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) on the next generation of supply chain strategy.

At SDI, the efficiency and effectiveness of our supply chain offerings are dependent on our innovative processes and their underlying technology.  Information on how you can leverage our expertise – using the IoT – can be found here.