If you thought the world wide web was the greatest internet revolution of this century, you better think again. Internet of Things, or commonly referred to as IoT, is the newest advancement in technology that will no doubt change the way businesses of all sizes operate. For you to fully take advantage of this newest revolution, it is important to first understand what it is.
What is IoT?
The Internet of Things is defined as a system of interconnected computing devices, digital and mechanical machines, animals, objects or people who are provided with unique identifiers that enable them to share and transfer data through a network without human-to computer or human-to-human interactions.
Impacts of IoT on Small Businesses
Businesses are the top adopters of any technological development. Business investment in IoT will grow to about $832 billion by the year 2020. However, the expenditure on IoT is expected to grow by more than $6 trillion among consumers, businesses, and governments within the same period.
Businesses that decide to embrace the IoT idea wholeheartedly will benefit immensely from this new trend. In sum, IoT can improve the bottom line of any business in three main ways: i) Increase productivity; ii) reduce operating cost; iii) develop new products or expand to new markets. Let us now look at cost reduction as a leading benefit of IoT to small businesses.
Cost reduction and IoT
IoT can help you reduce operating cost and improve the bottom line of your small business through:
- Safety compliance- You can use sensors powered by IoT to measure temperature and air quality to ensure that you are compliant with federal, local and state regulations.
- Improving inventory management- You can use technology such as satellite m2m which is powered by IoT to remotely check how your inventory is moving in your warehouses. Based on the metrics you gather, you can then decide whether it is time to reorder stock.
iii. Creating potential revenue streams- If your business installs products to customers, you can offer to install a sensor to the product and monitor the product on behalf of the customer at a fee.
- Enhance security- IoT will make it possible for you to monitor your business remotely and in real time. The videos captured by IoT sensors will be loaded directly to the internet making them available for viewing in real time.
- Promote energy management- IoT simplifies the process of energy management in business facilities. All you need to do is to install sensors which can be controlled remotely to adjust thermostats, power up or power down sections of your plants or machines.
Examples of IoT platforms for Small Business
There are a number of IoT platforms that have come up and can be used by small businesses to achieve their cost-cutting goals and improve their bottom lines. Here are some examples of these IoT platforms:
- Smart locks can be used by businesses to secure their wallets and make it unnecessary for these businesses to hire security guards to offer security services for them.
- The mobile credit card reader makes it possible for small businesses to process transactions with ease.
iii. Smart fleet trackers can help small businesses to track shipped products, save money and time and reduce customer satisfaction.
- Sensors can be installed in warehouses to help small business owners to track and manage their inventories without having to incur high costs.
- Sensors can also be used to monitor business premises and alert business owners in case of a security breach.
A final thought:
As a small business owner, you have the choice to either embrace the new trend that is being powered by IoT or not. Smart business owners appreciate the need to embrace technology. If you desire to cut the cost of operating and improve your bottom line, IoT promises to help you to achieve these goals.
by: Dennis Hung