Gerry Keane, U.S. vice president consumer products/retail and life sciences at Siemens PLM Software Inc., believes in brands cashing in on the digital thread of information.

Providing a platform to enable “smart innovation” to occur is how brands will get ahead – and it’s data that will help these organizations be predictive.

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“We are in the product life-cycle management side of the business — we make the products,” Keane said, noting that the most important thing to think about is if you’re connected to the point that the organization can make predictive decisions versus reactive decisions. This goes for all size businesses, ranging from modest $100 million companies all the way to Estée Lauder.

He acknowledged that aerospace and automobiles have been early adopters in smart technology — and using the “crawl, walk, run” analogy, Keane said retail and beauty are still in the crawl phase.

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Estée Lauder, a customer, started working with Siemens on labeling and packaging, but wearable technology and 3-D printing technology are going to be significant areas of growth going forward. Right now, the focus is on the labeling, artwork and packaging portion of a product’s journey, but there are some exceptions — like Under Armour, for instance.

 “[They are] about harnessing smart innovation in all of its digital formats and being able to provide wearable technology to describe how the wearer is feeling,” Keane said, adding that Under Armour is working on garments that can understand and identify if the wearer is dehydrated or cold and adjust accordingly.