Click here to close now.


Mobile IoT Authors: Anders Wallgren, Tim Fujita-Yuhas, Jason Bloomberg, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, @BigDataExpo

@ThingsExpo: Article

Code Halos Strategies, Retailing and Digital Disruption

The struggles of traditional retailers

Retailing has always been hard, but it is getting even harder. Brick and mortar stores are struggling to get people into their buildings to see and buy their products. Even when customers enter the store and look at the products, they often reach for their smartphone to check prices and opinions from other locations on the Internet. Retailers are being digitally disrupted in all kinds of ways. In many cases this disruption is via mobile devices, but that is not all of the story.

Amazon is often listed as the top digital disruptor in retailing as they are gobbling up market share in all kinds of categories. Today, they announced their own smartphone. Why? The smartphone is a data generation engine. It can provide massive amounts of data about you, your location, browsing, shopping and research interests.

My colleague, Peter Abatan has been pondering the struggles of traditional retailers and shares his insights with us here.

Recently, Tesco announced a third consecutive quarterly drop in profits and suffered its worst slump in 40 years, similarly, Sainsbury's announced its second consecutive quarterly drop. Having lived in the UK for a considerable part of my life, and being a holder of loyalty cards from both grocery chains, I wonder if these supermarkets really understand who I am, and what I like to purchase? I also ponder why it is so difficult for these behemoths to connect with me on a social level?

If ever a business or organization should be at the forefront of personal Code Halos strategies, it should be Tesco and Sainsbury's. Code Halos strategies are the information that surrounds people, organizations, and devices. Every click, swipe and view, every interaction and transaction generates a halo of code that's robust, powerful, and rich with meaning and insight. The data they hold on an individual is enough to make some basic assumptions about that person, giving them the opportunity to upsell or down-sell products and services depending on their spending patterns. For example, what a person buys can help determine whether the person lives in a one-person household or a multiple occupant household. It can indicate whether a person has realized a rise in income or an economic set back by the type and quality of products purchased. Purchases can hint at birthdays, weddings, babies, religious practices and holidays, and ethnic food preferences.

These economic trends associated with the individual can enable these grocery chains to help the customer stay loyal, by targeting special offers and deals specific to that customer's needs. For example, these grocery chains can offer a product regularly purchased by the customer, as an occasional treat to help retain loyalty. As the price cut chains like Lidl and Aldi continue to eat away at the market share of the big five in the UK, the survival of the fittest will depend on these grocery chains maximize the use of personal Code Halos to their advantage in order to engender loyalty from their customers.

I shop at any of the big 4 grocery chains because I feel none of them do really understand who I am as a customer. I have come to the conclusion that it is the ability to create a relationship with the customer that is essential to engendering loyalty. If Tesco can say to me, "Mr Abatan, we noticed that you bought the ingredients for a coconut cake, did you know that apart from making a coconut cake you could also make coconut flavored bread and here is the recipe to make it." Now that is a relationship that could last for a very long time. Another example is, "Mr Abatan we noticed that you have not bought petrol from us for a while. If you do so before the end of the week we will give you £4.00 off your next purchase."

Code Halos are about using technology to enhance relationships with the customer and to help the organization to grow in the midst of very stiff competition. There are supermarkets like ASDA that do not use loyalty cards, and use demographics to determine what products will sell in a particular area, and which ones would not. Cut price supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl probably use the same model, but I believe this is not sustainable. They all have to start to understand the individual customer and their needs, likes and dislikes.

By understanding my Code Halo, supermarkets can specifically target products that meet my needs. For example superfoods that can help me lose weight or run faster. It can begin to understand when I am likely to run out of a product and generate a shopping list that ensures that I do not forget something essential next time I visit the supermarket. These grocery chains need to connect with their customers via social media if they are to understand what their likes and dislikes are because it all goes towards understanding the personal Code Halo of every single customer.

Loyalty cards like Nectar for Sainbury's, Clubcard for Tesco and the latest edition myWaitrose by Waitrose are a great start, but these businesses need to recognize and fully understand every customer's personal needs and find a way to connect with those needs one customer at a time. As Malcolm Frank et al state in their book titled "Code Halos", "We can find meaning-making potential almost everywhere; the information surrounding every individual, product or organization is fantastically rich with clues and cues about past behavior, current needs and future possibilities". The authors go on to say ""Decoding" your customers' Code Halos - understanding in fine-grain detail who they are and what they value - is becoming the new way to win in business."

There is no doubt that Code Halos are now transforming all our lives and the lives of organizations as well. It will help us to achieve our goals faster, more efficiently and in a non-intrusive way. In essence, grocery chains need to think differently beyond price cuts and price wars, and begin to build solid meaningful relationships with each customer one-at-a-time.

Code Halos: How the Digital Lives of People, Things, and Organizations are Changing the Rules of Business by Malcolm Frank, Paul Roehrig and Ben Pring.
(Published by Wiley 2014)


Kevin Benedict

Writer, Speaker, Editor

Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant

View my profile on LinkedIn

Learn about mobile strategies at

Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict

Browse the Mobile Solution Directory

Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility

Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

Recommended Strategy Book Code Halos

Recommended iPad App Code Halos for iPads

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is the Senior Analyst for Digital Transformation at Cognizant, a writer, speaker and SAP Mentor Alumnus. Follow him on Twitter @krbenedict. He is a popular speaker around the world on the topic of digital transformation and enterprise mobility. He maintains a busy schedule researching, writing and speaking at events in North America, Asia and Europe. He has over 25 years of experience working in the enterprise IT solutions industry.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Electric power utilities face relentless pressure on their financial performance, and reducing distribution grid losses is one of the last untapped opportunities to meet their business goals. Combining IoT-enabled sensors and cloud-based data analytics, utilities now are able to find, quantify and reduce losses faster – and with a smaller IT footprint. Solutions exist using Internet-enabled sensors deployed temporarily at strategic locations within the distribution grid to measure actual line loads.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, will explore the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, will provide an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.