Over the years you have been hearing about the internet of things or IoT. From big marketing firms asking businesses to integrate IoT in their businesses to tech companies singing the praise for them, it seems like everyone is singing its praise.
So what is IoT and how is it transforming businesses? Well, the internet of things or IoT is a network of physical internet-connected devices that share and collect data across a network. So to put it in simpler terms IoT describes any object that’s connected to the internet.
Your apple watch, google home, or Alexa they are all IoT. Heck, the entire city of Barcelona is connected via IoT. Due to the advancement in internet connectivity in the world, everything is connected and IoT is making a huge splash in the world. Before the infrastructure wasn’t there for IoT solutions to be integrated into our lives but now you see them everywhere.
From IoT coffee machines, IoT connected beds, to connected cars you will find that IoT solutions are making everyone’s life so much easier. The departmental stores like Macy’s use Beacon technology that utilizes small, Bluetooth transmitters that connect with corresponding apps installed on connected devices. With these sorts of technologies, businesses can send customers targeted rewards and experiences.
IoT solutions can be used for payments as well. If you have ever used Square then you have used an IoT device. They have been helping small businesses to receive payments by connecting and sharing their data through the internet.
In a 2015 article, Forbes showed only 18% of small businesses and 13% of mid-sized companies considered IoT a priority. However, since then small and mid-size businesses have been reaping benefits of IoT solutions and have become a big priority for startups.
Now IoT devices are only half the story. For your business to integrate IoT solutions you need a platform. IoT platforms ensure that they allow developers to manage the apps they develop along with helping with storing, sharing, and analyzing data.
Think about iOS and Android platforms. They provide all the underlying technologies needed to ensure developers can create apps faster and for less cost solving problems without a lot of hassle. Now unlike for phones, there are plenty of IoT platforms for businesses. However, the most prominent platforms are Amazon, Google, & IBM.
IoT solutions are making the world a better place and making lives easier. With all the industries looking for more connected business IoT solutions have been providing that but a few industries will dominate.
In a 2017 article, Forbes estimated that 84% of the growing IoT applications will be dominated by Smart Cities (26%), Industrial IoT (24%), Connected Health (20%), and Smart Homes (14%). Here are all the industries that utilize IoT solutions:
Now that you know what IoT is and what industries they utilize IoT solutions let’s check out how they are transforming businesses:
IoT is making everything look better. IoT makes the future look amazing. Because of the internet of things solutions nowadays cities are cleaner, more efficient, you save electricity bills and you never run out home essentials.
Now that’s all good but how does it impact business owners? But before we dive into it then let’s talk about what it means for customers. One of the ways IoT impacts customers is the way they experience customer service representatives.
IoT solutions ensure that customer service experience is more of a preventive measure rather than a reactive experience. This is because customers will often start the conversation way before a problem even pops up. So when the problem does pop up the customer service representatives have all the information so that they know what the problems are and how to address them.
With all the information ready at hand walking the customer through the problems in a jiffy. Customer service will be a fast and easy process and customer satisfaction increases.
Now, small businesses can experiment with simpler IoT solutions that are low on cost but provides a lot of business optimization. Just setting aside a little portion of the investment for IoT implementation will ensure that your team will be able to focus on other parts of your businesses and find innovative solutions.
Companies that use IoT use it to solve big-picture problems and optimize day to day operations. Small businesses all over the world use IoT solutions mostly to reduce the friction in customer service to make the experience better.
IoT solutions have been optimizing business operations and supply chains. Operational efficiency is at the forefront of IoT solutions. They allow businesses to identify unprofitable or unproductive processes and remove or enhance them.
With IoT, all the things that happen in the physical world are converted into digital data that ensures every step is measured and managed. With IoT integration, you will be able to reduce staffing costs in some areas while letting you increase the staff to support the implementation of IoT into the business.
IoT helps with monitoring and improving operations because manual data collection is slow and inefficient. IoT devices continuously gather and analyze data and allow your team to focus on more strategic, impactful tasks.
Not all businesses are primed for IoT solutions however many savvy companies benefit a great deal from the widespread adoption of IoT infrastructure.
According to a book by John Rossman called The Amazon Way On IoT, there are 3 different options for small- to medium-size businesses to adjust their current business models with IoT. The three options are building a platform business, switching to an outcome-based model, or using data as your business. Now many businesses can even build their custom IoT platform to support their business and later it can turn into a new business on its own.
One of the prime examples of this is Amazon’s Alexa. With IoT solutions, businesses can easily switch to a more outcome-based model for their business.
Along with that, IoT devices produce a lot of information on users that can be valuable for other businesses as well. John Rossman says in his book that 10% of IoT integrated businesses will be selling and trading IoT collected user data. And for some that have become a concern which brings us to our next topic.
Now that you know the wonder that IoT is for businesses. Data collected from these devices help make businesses better but that comes with baggage. With data security being one of the biggest concerns in 2020 and the years to come IoT data protection has been a big worry for businesses.
In 2015, a group of hackers shut down the power grid in Western Ukraine that left over 230,000 people without power or heat. Now that’s scary. According to a 2015 study by the FTC less than 10,000 smart homes can produce over 150,000,000 data points in one single day. That’s a lot of data and all of that needs to be protected.
There are security options but the rapid pace of IoT evolution and implementation often makes it hard for companies to keep up with security measures.
Some laws ensure products are secured and there are legal proceedings for a data breach as well. The Department of Justice also encourages companies to implement secure password practices and that users keep their devices’ firmware updated to be protected from data breaches.
With experts projecting that there will be more than 31 billion IoT devices online this year its safe to say that IoT solutions are bringing in a new dynamic to businesses. IoT ensures that communities experience the luxury of total convenience and personalization.
Businesses can proactively engage instead of reacting with IoT devices now. Along with that, the sheer amount of data will make a significant change in marketing approach as well.
Now there are security concerns but with the right security measures, your business will be perfectly primed to take advantage of IoT solutions.
IoT is the future and they are transforming businesses at a very fast rate. And now you know how IoT is bringing about a new age in business. So until next time. See Ya!