Expert Interview: Julie Vargas, Director, Digital Solutions at Avery Dennison

We spoke to Julie Vargas, Director, Digital Solutions at Avery Dennison


Ahead of her presentation at the Internet of Things Summit in San Francisco on April 12 & 13, we spoke to Julie Vargas, Director, Digital Solutions at Avery Dennison.

As Director of Digital Solutions at Avery Dennison, Julie partners with brands and retailers to drive on-product digital innovation. In 2016, her team partnered with EVRYTHNG to launch Janela, giving each garment or shoe a unique, personalized digital profile that drives additional experiences and content. Julie has over a decade of experience leading retail success in operations, distribution, analytics and sensor technologies at multiple international brands. She is also fluent in four languages.

How did you get started in your career?

I started in financial services at Merrill Lynch and then moved into business analytics at Coach. Some of my early projects were around fulfillment and inventory and I quickly learned RFID was an incredible technology with power to really transform the industry. I sought an opportunity to get involved and began my digital journey with sensor technology.

Do you think it is fair to say we currently in a stage of disillusionment when it comes to IoT?

I think there is a lot of fragmentation in IoT and it's been tough to find a cohesive way for industries to adopt without friction. This has led to a few false starts and disillusionment on where and how it can have the most transformational impact.

What challenges do you see IoT having to overcome before it reaches its full potential?

In addition to the fragmentation of IoT elements coming online (platforms, sensors, hardware), the concept as a whole is still a foreign one to most people. While a lot of IoT is focused on B2B relationships and solving enterprise problems, I think the biggest hurdle is finding simplistic and valuable ways to leverage IoT to solve human problems. When IoT is able to provide consistent end to end solutions that drive value for consumers and businesses alike, we will see it hit full potential.

Do you foresee any potential problems regarding the explosion of IoT - when it comes to dealing with the amount of energy required and so forth?

I think it will ultimately provide a more efficient and sustainable way to both do business and interact with our world. While initial adoption may require some short term sacrifices, the opportunity to streamline manufacturing, reduce surplus inventories and drive smart usage of energy will have a positive impact on resource consumption long term.

Where do you think are the most exciting applications for IoT likely to arise?

I think the most exciting applications are in the consumer goods space. We have a fragmented landscape of information today, whether it is how we use appliances or what products we buy or where we spend our time. While many companies are working to improve how we can become more efficient and organized, I'm excited for the ability of IoT to connect the various components of our lives to give us the power to create a personalized world that interprets our needs and wants.

How important is edge computing to IoT? Are there any other technologies you think could impact the space in the coming years?

Edge computing is extremely important for IoT speed and access. AI and Big Data will also drive true automated decisioning that will provide an interpretation of mass connectivity in a way that can be tailored to where and how we want to leverage IoT to improve our businesses and our lives.

What can the audience expect to take away from your presentation?

We will be looking at the future of connected products and how they can drive flow over friction in our lives. While we will cover the power of sensor technologies to drive better business decisions, the audience will also take away research insights on the rising power of digital EQ and the ability to create personalized, seamless experiences for consumers through the very products they shop and own.

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