I recently had a chat with Sid Jatia, VP Direct-To-Consumer Digital at Under Armour and a member of the Xively IoT Advisory Board to get his thoughts on the state of the IoT overall, how Under Armour is looking to leverage the technology and how they are using Xively.
How do you see the IoT transforming your business?
When you look at the IoT overall I think you’ll find that manufacturing has really taken the lead. When it comes to retail Under Armour is in a really unique place. We are a retailer / manufacturer, but we are also a technology company. When you look at all the connected fitness acquisitions we’ve done and the hardware products we are building – we are quickly morphing into a technology company. And every aspect of that business has a unique challenge and opportunity as it relates to IoT. Every shoe, every fitness tracker, every weight scale, and every heart rate monitor that we make is about creating data – information our customers can leverage to help with their fitness goals. It’s the core underpinning of our business model. We are working to create that connected experience for an athlete where they can get product recommendations based on their personal goals, fitness levels, etc. That is where our business has the opportunity to really transform with the IoT.
What are the opportunities that will open up?
The opportunities are immense, but the main one is the ability to drive a different kind of intelligence – not only with the products we make but how we talk to our customers and the overall experience we offer them. If you think about the best brands you know and why they are given that designation it is not only because they make a fantastic product but it is because they create a great brand experience. The IoT is enabling great brands to not only conduct smart efficient business but also the the opportunity to create deeper engagement which can build brand loyalty and create a lifetime customer.
How do you see Xively playing a part of the IoT ecosystem?
When brands are thinking about the IoT they are not thinking about what sensors or chip boards they should use – they are thinking about what kind of experience can they can unlock. The Xively Platform is critical for any brand looking to connect and scale a product. Once traverse the journey of what kind of experience you want to unlock, Xively offers the extremely important component of how you drive intelligence across a multitude of mechanisms, manage the data and help ensure that it is actionable for the business. The use case for Xively will continue to become even more powerful as they continue to strengthen their capabilities. The recent launch of the Xively ProductLauncher is a great example of how dedicated they are to making IoT easy and accessible to companies of all sizes.
What are you most excited about when you think about the IoT and the future of connected products?
I am excited by the idea of devices going away and omni-intelligence occurring in everything we do. Today’s norm of having a phone, a fitness tracker, and all of these gadgets where we consciously track our workouts will just go away with more embeddable sensors, embeddable intelligence and programmatic technologies. There is so much possibility with the IoT and what do you do with that data. It is an opportunity that will only get richer and it is up to us to leverage it and take the best use of it. That is the really exciting part.
Sid is a business leader with 15 years of successful track record leading large organizations through a digital first sensibility. Currently, at Under Armour his team is focused on driving channel innovation, both in retail and e-commerce. Previously at Razorfish, he led several engagements involving omni-channel strategy, new models of merchandising, commerce optimization, and store activation. Sid has led business transformation projects for clients such as Target, JC Penney, Samsung, HSN, Express, US Foods and AT&T.