The Internet of Things is a relatively new concept for most of us. The idea of being even more connected than we are now is a bit daunting for some. Keeping pace with software and technology developments alone seems like a full-time job for entrepreneurs. So adding a new layer of connectivity might seem ‘over the top’. But if you remember the rotary dial telephone, then keep reading.
What is the IoT anyway?
In very basic of terms, the Internet of Things or IoT is the concept of connecting a device to the internet, then connecting them to each other. Smart devices like cell phones, washing machines, coffee makers, home security systems, and the new wearable devices are just a few examples. In the business world, examples would be machinery and office equipment, a jet engine or automobile, or the drill in an oil rig. It’s estimated that in the next five years over 100 billion devices will be connected through this enormous network. Connecting your alarm clock and your coffee maker could have some advantages. If your car could access your calendar, it could automatically look for the fastest route to your next meeting. Sounds like that could be helpful.
Will IoT impact small business?
Applying IoT to the business environment could be valuable in a number of ways. Your smart office equipment could automatically order supplies when running low. Smart buildings could make your workplace more energy efficient by controlling lights, room temperature and other energy uses. IoT provides almost endless ways to connect and improve how we live and work. Many of which we haven’t even thought of yet. IoT will bring with it a host of new opportunities for small business to boost efficiencies and revenue.
How can small business use IoT?
Imagine your point-of-sale scanners in your retail shop connected to warehouse systems and analytics software. The information could improve efficiency in inventory management and provide insights that change the way you manage your business. IoT has the potential to change the way you do business and the way your customers interact with you. As IoT develops, entrepreneurs should consider upgrading their equipment and devices to ‘smart’ machines when the need for replacement arises. IoT will give every business the opportunity to be innovative in developing new ways to serve customers and increase revenue.
Cyber security is a current concern, and IoT will only increase the need for securing data and systems. IoT will bring a new level of vulnerability. But it will also drive a higher level of security and cyber innovation along with it.
No matter what industry you are in, it’s worth keeping an eye on developments in IoT. After all, rotary dial telephones were fine, until someone came up with a better idea.