The age of the IoT (Internet of Things) is well underway. This is the increasing number of smart devices that can communicate with each other and with people across the internet, chiefly using Wi-Fi networks. Factory machinery, your phone, car, TV, refrigerator, or any product with the right electronic components can all be parts of this network.
The tech that makes this possible consists of different types of sensors. They depend on information, digital memory, and wireless transmitters. An online computer then receives this data for processing. For example, errors detected in your dishwasher are automatically sent to the manufacturer for repair warranty checks and entered in a database for analysis. Consequently, you get products with significantly prolonged life-cycles.
The IoT will change the way we live and the way we do business. Connected medical devices, for instance, can constantly track your vital signs and send alerts to your caregiver if readings indicate a problem. There are sensors in the transportation industry vehicles that constantly gather data, which headquarters, insurers, or the Department of Transportation all share to make highways safer.
For even small-to-medium businesses, this increasingly affordable technology can transform the way work is done. It creates an automated, immediate connection between humans and machines. Your company can gather information in real time on production, quality testing, and more to improve efficiency and increase profit margins.
How the IoT Affects Your SMB
The data gathered through your IoT devices can be used to enable better business decisions in workflows, safety, customer service, shipping, inventory, track costs and expenses, and introduce more efficiency to any aspect of your operations.
1. Business Intelligence (BI): Improved Marketing and Customer Satisfaction
Modern companies need to manage a growing volume of data captured by computers both online and offline. IoT technology simplifies and accelerates the process of getting value from all this data. Coupled with big data analytics solutions functioning over the cloud, your team can quickly find answers on marketing results, customer feedback, and other input you need to drive more sales.
IoT will take much of the guesswork out of marketing campaigns by reducing errors and improving the timeliness of customer data. You can get instant results tracking on every ad, call, or click. It can also integrate with strategies such as personalization, payment apps, and chatbots to streamline the customer experience and improve the likelihood of repeat business.
2. Improved Communication and Collaboration
All of your smart technology can be integrated into one system providing unparalleled transparency into all business functions. This improves collaboration by providing all teams or departments with a shared dataset and reporting to reduce misunderstandings or wasted efforts. Remote employees, supply chains, or distant branch offices can utilize the same information for more effective collaboration on special projects and daily tasks.
You can also expect your business partners to increase their adoption of IoT technology as time goes by. This will improve collaboration between vendors, consultants, regulatory agencies, and other third parties. This is of special significance in B2B companies where your automated processes can link directly to the client’s to facilitate fast and secure communication.
3. Automation of Processes for High Efficiency
Smart devices and machines enable you to extend automation throughout your organization. This can save time on routine tasks and improve efficiency. It also frees up time for employees to focus on more complex tasks like projects and problem solving.
IoT can also improve performance and efficiency in peripheral operations that tend to run in the background. Concerns like power usage, pollutants, equipment tracking, and more can be more efficiently managed through interconnected cameras, sensors, and meters. This will help to improve regulatory compliance and reduce costly accidents.
4. Remote Workers and Increased Production
Your company can also save on office space and overhead by outsourcing more work to remote employees or freelancers. Smart devices let you track offsite performance to make remote options of greater value by ensuring optimal output. More space and less hectic surroundings will also boost the efficiency and job satisfaction of your in-house workers.
One other area where the IoT can drive improvements is human resources. Many smaller companies struggle with the costs and complexities of employee turnover and new hires. Cloud-based HR systems empowered with IoT technology can ease the burden of recruitment and hiring, and raise employee retention rates.
5. Heightened Security
IoT devices can be put to work where they excel most, in digital processes. This includes not just data transfer but the essential need for security in your infrastructure. Smart technologies can incorporate safeguards like the latest encryption standards to be certain that your data and messaging are safe.
Data breaches can also lead to a loss of confidence in your business. It’s one of your responsibilities to ensure that client information is safe and protected. That way you aren’t exposing them to cyber crime. Preventing that loss of trust is well worth the expense of integrating IoT solutions in your network.
The Internet of Things is certainly going to expand in the coming years. There are expected to be more than 75 billion smart devices in use by 2025. It’s probably wise to introduce smart technology into your company now to fuel future growth and stay on top of competitive advantages. Seamless communications between devices throughout your company will continue to boost efficiency and add value across a wide range of business functions.