The Internet of Things (IOT) is a difficult concept for many people to wrap their minds around. Essentially, IOT consists of technologically advanced objects that have the ability to transmit information, and potentially even sense, monitor and react to human behavior.
Most discussions of IOT revolve around how it will come to impact our lives over the coming decades. But few realize IoT is also reinventing business. Here are thw ways how it is positively impacting businesses:
Analytics is a major component of IoT, and the data that is now able to be collected and mined should always be used to boost productivity, and can be. This is perhaps one of the most obvious ways in which businesses will benefit.
IoT technology is opening up a better understanding of the ways in which customers engage with products and services. This data can then be used smartly to better engage future customers. In digital marketing, for example, analyzing customer behavior is a core activity to increasing conversion rates, and the IoT is threatening to open this up with regards to physical interactions with businesses too, not just those performed online.
Opening up new business lines
One of the most obvious benefits of IoT systems is that they increase the possibility of engagement with customers, and this in turn opens up new product opportunities. For example, a business now has the capability of providing analytical observation of products in order to provide a higher level of service. Additional add-on products can therefore be an attractive part of a business’s’ range.
Improving customer experience
This point in intrinsically linked to many of those benefits already highlighted. For example, if businesses can better understand their customer, then obviously they should then be able to better provide exactly what the customer needs. And with improved analytical processes, businesses can also improve efficiency, which should also directly impact upon the end-user experience too. As an additional advantage, IoT technology allows additional ways in which customers and businesses can engage with one another, which completes the cycle.
Many speak of the inherent dangers of IoT, but the reality is closer to the fact that it should enhance security systems, not be detrimental to them. Of course this is an essential priority for all businesses, web-based or not, and it is true that the IoT hypothetically increases the means by which hackers and cyberthieves can penetrate systems, but with advancements in firewalls and authentication processes, especially through biometrics, it is actually effecting more stringent security systems. And then what about physical security systems?
“Smart systems attached to IoT, such as smart sensors and locks, are a millions miles away from the rudiment systems employed by businesses not so long ago. We are in a new age of security measures, and compared to the old ways, we’ve come a long long way,” suggests Barbara Tielemans, an IoT blogger at Study demic and Revieweal.
Opening up remote working possibilities
Like so many of the benefits of IoT, this one becomes more obvious the more you think about it. Remote working, for the most part, is to everyone’s advantage. Employees obviously prefer the flexibility that it affords them, and happy employees, also for the most part, are motivated employees, so this is where the benefits to the company come in. So how does IoT present better remote working possibilities. Well, it creates a situation where multiple devices can connect to the same network and communicate in a deeper way with each other, meaning that it is possible to complete more activities from wherever it is that you may be. And one added benefit is that it reduces business costs too in that a physical work space may no longer need to be provided by the employer.
Improving the management of inventory
This doesn’t necessarily impact upon every type of business, but if an organization does store large amounts of inventory, then IoT allows for improved automation of systems, which at the same time works to improve efficiency of the existing systems. Tracking is another tool which can be automated to a central system which details the state of supplies across the business, once again helping to improve efficiency of service and at the same time reduce wastage or critical downtime.
Of course, the immediate fear is that this technology will lead to job losses – after all we often hear depressing predictions of machines replacing human workers in a multitude of contexts. First of all, that fear is misplaced. Like so much technology, IoT will supplement the human workforce, not replace it. It may be true that particular roles will disappear, but that only means that other roles will open up. Many of the future roles created by IoT are not even known yet.
Yes, IoT technology can actually reduce overheads. For example, with power-saving energy sources such as lights and air-conditioning systems which are activated smartly. Just another benefit of the IoT revolution, and one that will contribute to the health of the planet, as well as your business.
Creating better efficiency
This is just a case of simple math. If IoT is boosting productivity, and at the same time reducing overheads, then what is the result? Increased efficiency, of course. And here is the point at which the benefits to businesses and customer truly align, because more efficient businesses are also those who can offer great products and services at competitive prices, which is a dream for the consumer.