5 Ways to Use the Internet of Things for Your Small Business

5 Ways to Use the Internet of Things for Your Small Business

Internet of Things or IoT as it is commonly referred is no unheard term in today’s highly technology centred societies. High-speed internet has become more affordable and accessible in homes and mobile devices over the previous decade. Simultaneously, through advancements in material technology, computer chips and microprocessors have become so much smaller and cheaper, to be used in the billions of devices around the world.

As a result, the number of smart devices in the world has increased drastically. The number of which, according to a research report by Gartner will cross the 25 billion mark. Due to the unused potential of the IoT industry, there is a growing demand for IoT solutions and IoT app development in the market. Businesses are considering all options, whether that is through in-house development or making use of an external IoT solution development company.   

Businesses, especially SMBs can make use of IoT to improve their business operations and increase efficiency. There are so many examples of IoT in business applications to be looked into.

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What is Internet of Things (IoT)?  

To put it simply, the Internet of Things or IoT is a phenomenon that covers the vast number of physical devices and or objects (things) around the world that are connected to the internet through wireless technology. These devices are able to collect and share data amongst each other and back to some central cloud-based application for storage and or processing. 

In addition to their primary mundane purpose, these devices or ‘things’ are embedded with additional sensors, microprocessors and or chips and other softwares, that basically allow them to perform some function or task and relay the data back over the internet. 

5 Ways for Businesses to Use Internet of Things (IoT)

Bring Down Utility Costs

IoT can provide great cost reductions to both companies and homeowners. Utilities are a significant portion of a company’s operational expenses, which can be reduced through the use of smart devices in the business environment. Integrating smart lighting, motion sensors, and thermostat solutions can allow businesses to effectively manage their energy usage and prevent wastage. These sensors would be in sync with the lighting, to turn on and off as per detected movement. Lower consumption and smarter utilization of energy will provide substantial cost savings. This is true for other appliances found in an office as well, including photocopiers, printers and other devices connected to the internet via wifi, to be managed through a central mobile application.     

Early Maintenance Notifications

Due to rising competition and economies of scale, IoT solutions are affordable than ever before. However, this does not mean the devices which are a part of the entire smart package implemented in an office environment come cheap. Using IoT, businesses can become aware of when their devices are due for maintenance and schedule them accordingly. Having a sudden breakdown of the lighting units or smart thermostats will spell a nightmare for daily operations in an office. Hence, periodic maintenance notifications can be received in an application and problems can be rectified when they are relatively smaller. 

Increase Business Security

As a new business, finding its place in the market can be a challenging period. The last thing a small business needs is some criminal activity at its premises. In order to guard its investment and have it better managed. Smart security cameras, in addition to motion sensors can be used to boost physical security of buildings. These CCTV cameras can be discreetly installed, to provide a 24/7 live feed direct to a mobile device. These cameras can be used to observe employee behaviour and discourage in-office malpractice. Motion sensors and smart locks can be installed in sensitive areas, like a server room or vault that may notify improper/unscheduled timed movements to approved communication channels.    

Understand Consumer Behaviour

IoT has allowed businesses to have access to so much more data and information, to be used back in the daily operations of the business. The collected data once processed can provide key analytical information about consumer behaviour towards different products and services, and allow businesses to tweak or personalize their services accordingly. Understanding the patterns and optimising customer experience to facilitate digital shoppers as per their needs. 

Improved Inventory Management 

For small businesses, managing inventory can be a challenge. Supplies that run out too early could mean delays in order deliveries. For surplus stock, there are chances of waste that would cost a business greatly. Hence, involving an IoT solution development company to integrate IoT devices with warehouse operations can effectively tackle the issue of inventory management, by monitoring inventory as per required business thresholds. Leaving concerned personnel to focus on other matters regarding inventory procurement, supply chain issues, and vendor-supplier relationships, etc.       

Summary

IoT presents great opportunities for smaller businesses and especially to the ones that are starting out. The thought of implementing IoT might be daunting at first, but there are numerous benefits in the immediate and long term. Spanning across all areas of business operations, that are most likely to drive business growth and efficiency. Considering the services of an IoT solution development company will be a good starting point, to have your business evaluated for IoT integration. 

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