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Tesco CIO: IoT could be as liberating as internet itself

Tesco CIO Mike McNamara has this week argued that the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) could be as liberating as the invention of the internet itself, as the supermarket group confirmed the creation of its Tesco Labs innovation team.

Commenting on Tesco's Talking Shop blog, the IT boss said that IoT could soon become part of everyday life, with ordinary devices in a consumer's home – such as a fridge or oven – connecting with each other to inform people when people are running out of certain products and then ordering the relevant item online.

IoT is certainly a hot topic within today's business world, with a competition launching last week to find cutting-edge examples of innovation in the European IoT space. A collaboration between Tech City UK, the Technology Strategy Board and Cambridge Wireless, which is supported by a number of UK businesses, is seeking to accelerate the development of IoT technology in the British Isles.

McNamara's reflections on the changing face of technology come as Tesco continues to focus on innovation through the development of its Tesco Labs team, which is made up of designers, developers and researchers whose role it is to look into identifying future trends in retail, such as IoT.

The group is seen as an important part of the grocer's future as it aims to monitor changing tech patterns and work on new technologies and customer experiences. It is an area that a number of the UK's largest retailers are investing in as the use of technology becomes a key differentiator for businesses.

John Lewis's director of retail operations development Simon Russell, for example, recently told Essential Retail that retailers are increasingly competing in the field of innovation, as they look to give the customer an "optimum experience" throughout their purchase journey.

McNamara explained: "Our multichannel approach is already helping customers shop whenever, however and whenever they need to.

"In the future, the shopping experience will become even more seamless, convenient and effortless. Tesco Labs are already working on turning that vision into a reality for millions of our customers."