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The Internet of Eyes Will Change Everything in Retail. Again.

We’ve heard of the Internet of Things, but the latest buzzword on the block is the Internet of Eyes—the idea that inanimate objects will soon have the ability to “see.”

That was a topic of conversation at the Decoded Fashion New York Summit Wednesday, and Evan Nisselson, general partner of investment firm LDV Capital, said this future visualization of everything will mean better understanding our lives. Which also means better understanding consumers’ lives.

“The war over artificial intelligence will be won with visual data and the Internet of Eyes,” Nisselson said.

Winning that war will come down to who owns the connected camera. Because most of what the human brain analyzes is visual, for artificial to become human-like enough to sub for actual people, it will be about the ability for computers to translate high quality visual data.

By 2022, there’ll be at least 45 billion cameras in the world, Nisselson said citing a recent LDV Capital report.

“Nearly all inanimate objects will begin to see, creating vast amounts of visual data across the visual technology ecosystem,” the report noted.

That means mirrors will be able to see if we’ve had too much alcohol, cameras in smartphones will be able to tell your heart rate, and cars will have as many as 30 cameras and be able to detect people’s expressions in cars nearby to know whether that person poses a danger. Cameras in windshields will be able to scan an Uber driver’s eyes and tell the passenger that the driver is angry or tired and that it might not be the best idea to ride with them—before they get in the car.

The Internet of Eyes in apparel supply chains

As it stands, retail is resting on heaps of data it doesn’t know how to deal with, but what emerges as a result of the Internet of Eyes, will be vital for retail to better understand itself and its new consumer.

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“It’s going to be part of manufacturing, it’s going to be part of everything we do,” Nisselson said.

In other words, the bots and drones and automated everything are coming and they’ll be driving processes in factories, warehouses, at retail and to address the consumer.

“Cameras will be integrated across the supply chain from ship-to-shore cranes to warehouses and retail smart shelves,” LDV’s report said.

The sector that stands to be most revolutionized by the Internet of Eyes, however, will be e-commerce.

“Amazon’s Echo Look is their first step to empowering customers to shop on the platform using nothing but a camera. The Look lets their customers buy products via selfies, and it provides the company with trends of visual data so their artificial intelligence algorithms can learn our favorite clothes, styles and products,” LDV said.

And Google’s Assistant is right on the heels of that.

“We are prepared to watch the battle between big companies fighting to control your cameras and interpret our visual data, in the hopes to increase revenue, and to make our lives easier, and more fun,” LDV said.

Before long, banal things like finding the right shoe size and paying for product with plastic will be non-issues as consumers will soon be able to buy shoes by photographing their feet to be 3-D mapped for custom fit, and goods in stores will be paid for with little more than selfies thanks to facial recognition.

“The camera will become the point of sale within five to 10 years,” Nisselson said.