May 29, 2001, 12:00 AM

X Internet is coming, and retailers better be ready, says Forrester

The X Internet is on the way as wireless access and applications grow and manufacturers embed smart chips in consumer products, says Forrester.

The so-called X Internet is on the way as wireless access and applications grow and as retailers and manufacturers experiment with embedding smart chips in consumer products, says Forrester Research. Retailers that start now to lay the foundation for the extended Internet will enjoy the returns, Forrester says.

New technologies and growing wireless applications will make e-commerce sites even more interactive and further blur distinctions among channels, says Forrester analyst Evie Black Dykema. “With the X Internet, static product pages no different from the paper catalogs delivered to mailboxes will give way to a shopping experience built specifically for the Internet and its underlying technology, of which the web is just a part,” she adds.

For example, with new X Internet applications, a StairMaster owner might tap into the X Internet network of services to fix problems with the help of interactive content and 3-D images that can be manipulated on screen to walk the user through troubleshooting and repair, Dykema says. Additionally, chips that sense, analyze and control the physical world will be embedded in products to close supply chain gaps between retailer, manufacturer and consumer, sensing, for example, when it’s time for a reorder or product maintenance.

X Internet investments for the future that will start paying off now include tagging data with code to drive inventory replenishment and targeted marketing, and connecting sales operations with the environments that drive incremental sales. Sears, for example, could grow its Auto Center business by placing sensors in car parts that let consumers know when it’s time to get a new a battery or tires. Says Dykema, “The X Internet is coming, and retailers can’t ignore it.”


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