Sat, Aug

Has Retail Display Gone Full Circle?

Word of the year for 2016 seems to be ‘smart’ - five letters that when put together means something incredible, intuitive and beyond all other normal things.

Smart has been used for many years as an acronym within project management and trying to be time efficient. I’m sure some of you have been on a leadership course where somebody has talked about Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound with great enthusiasm. And bored you to death for an hour or two. Well, the use of the word has now taken on a whole new meaning.

I was travelling home at the end of my Christmas break in the South West when I hit congestion on the M3 motorway, with cones everywhere and not a workman to be seen. On this occasion the signs were informing everyone that in early 2016 the M3 would be converting to a ‘Smart Motorway’.

Being the cynic I am, when I got home I Googled ‘Smart Motorways’ to find out what makes them different from normal ones. Basically it means “using technology to manage congestion”, which I understand to be variable speed limits and being allowed to use the hard shoulder at busy times. Not that smart then!

Schools have been using Smart Boards for years. They are what I call really smart. The benefits are huge, instantaneous and must really help the teacher to pack so much more into a short lesson.

Variable speed limits? Mainly a great way to sting under pressure drivers with a few more points and a fine.

Everywhere I look, companies are adding the word ‘smart’ to their products and services.

Smartphones, smart TV’s, smart meters, the list goes on. Apparently the UK is soon to get its first five Smart Cities!

It reminds me of when ‘digital’ hit the headlines 10 or 15 years ago. Even I added it to our company name for a year or two! Everything suddenly became digital as if the word had taken on wondrous, magical properties.

There aren’t many things that I use that makes me think “wow that’s smart!”. And I very rarely meet somebody that makes me think, “they’re smart”. Come on, impress me.


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