Chances are you are familiar with IoT or heard the term somewhere. You may also have seen it somewhere and thought, “Great, another buzzword.” But IoT is far from a buzzword, and it’s a real trend that’s here to stay.
IoT is the abbreviated form of Internet of Things, a broad term that refers to different objects that connect and communicate among themselves and the internet. And in today’s digital landscape, this plays out with the number of machines, devices, and objects of varying sizes that communicate in real-time with one another.
Growth projections for IoT vary by source, but one thing is sure – IoT is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, and this is due to the several benefits they offer across industries. Below, we discuss some of the benefits of IoT for businesses:
- Reduced Costs
Businesses are always exploring ways to reduce costs and improve profitability, something IoT can help with. Smart devices built with sensors can help work equipment operate optionally while detecting or reporting problems before they escalate and affect employees or become more expensive to repair. Businesses in logistics, food, manufacturing, and so on will find this feature particularly beneficial.
About 83% of organizations have been able to reduce costs thanks to the implementation of IoT in a data report by DataProt. And as more industries embrace IoT, more customized solutions will be available for businesses.
- Higher Efficiency and Productivity
An interconnection of smart devices can bring about improved efficiency and productivity in the workplace through several means. One approach involves reducing tedious and repetitive tasks through automation. Tools can be created to automatically convert or create PDF files. Some repetitive arithmetic calculations can also be automated.
IoT can help mobilize and manage office resources like printers, WIFI/internet, and copiers. This is highly beneficial for businesses relying on managed print services as remote management of devices can be carried out, leading to increased productivity.
- Business Opportunities
The impact IoT has on business opportunities is significant, with many businesses taking advantage of the technology to collect data. In today’s business landscape, data is everything, and IoT can provide actionable data for organizations through AI, trackers, and advanced analytics.
Insurance companies are already using IoT sensors to compile information on speed, distance traveled, and frequency of braking. This information allows insurers to assess risks more precisely and offer better management pricing policies.
Internet, a Key Enabler of IoT
There is no IoT without the internet, and the network IoT devices connect to has a significant effect on the functioning and effectiveness of the technology. To implement IoT in the workplace or at home, you’ll need a network that is secure, flexible, and one that several devices can connect to.
Wired Ethernet, Wifi, cellular technologies, and WAN are popular networks used for IoT devices. Recently, a new type of network is becoming more popular among businesses, and that is Software-defined Wide Area Network, also referred to as SD WAN.
The main advantage of the aforementioned network is the improved security and performance it offers, alongside reduced WAN costs. WAN also becomes easier to manage.
IoT Tools For Businesses
The common perception is that IoT is mainly for big businesses, but in reality, any business, big or small, can benefit from the technology. Below, you’ll find some great IoT ideas for small businesses. Here they are:
- Smart Locks
Security is of utmost importance to all businesses and is one area where small businesses can leverage the power of IoT. Smart locks save you the hassle of physical keys, which can get lost or stolen. Access is also faster and more convenient with smart locks.
Another important feature of smart locks is the ability to remotely check the status of a door. It doesn’t matter where you are. As a business owner, you can always remotely check if your doors are locked and secure them if they are not.
It’s also easier to give or revoke access to employees or visitors with smart locks. And you receive notifications whenever a door is opened, which further strengthens security.
- Smart Lighting and Thermostats
Yet another way small businesses can benefit from IoT. While the convenience they provide is very obvious, smart lighting also brings about cost savings due to their more energy-efficient LED bulbs. It’s also easy to adjust the color or dimness of individual lights.
Small businesses can easily set their smart lights to come on and off according to their schedule. They can also check on the status of the lights and remotely switch them on or off.
Smart thermostats provide superior functionality compared to regular thermostats, adjusting themselves based on ambient conditions and providing energy consumption. As you would expect of any IoT device, smart thermostats can be remotely controlled.
- Connected Cameras
Cameras are essential to providing security at home and in the workplace. They protect against both internal and external threats. When employees know that they are under surveillance, they are likely to refrain from theft. And should they ever steal from the business, cameras will provide evidence to catch them and reclaim your assets.
With a security camera, you can also monitor your employees to evaluate their performance. Work processes that need to be modified for efficiency. Needless to also add, cameras can help avoid frivolous lawsuits.
Smart cameras allow you to access live and recorded footage remotely from anywhere. You can also program your cameras to record at certain times or under certain circumstances, like if motion is detected.
- Shipping Trackers
Shipping trackers are essentially connected sensors that can be used to track merchandise in transit. This is very useful for those in the shipping business and good industry. For those into shipping, it’s a big advantage to know the status and location of items at all times, while food industries can use trackers to ensure perishable items arrive on top and in good condition.
- Azure IoT Suite
Management software tools for IoT used to be targeted toward big organizations, but this is now changing as tech giants are now diversifying their clientele. The advantage? Small and midsize businesses can now access a management system that monitors and secures all connected devices while providing real-time stats, updates, and valuable analytics.
One such management software is the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite which provides customized services to small businesses. It allows you to manage your IoT devices without breaking the bank and customize a plan according to your needs.