How the Internet of Things Impacts Businesses and What to Do With It
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the ever-growing collection of devices — ranging from smartphones to sensor-equipped manufacturing robots — that are interconnected via the internet. Thanks to this interconnection, they can send and receive data — a capability that facilitates a wide range of actions in both everyday life and in business. IoT is so popular that by 2025, the analysts at International Data Corporation (IDC) predict that more 55.7 billion connected devices will be in the marketplace, with 75 percent of them connected to an IoT platform.
IoT has become an integral part of many workplaces. Regardless of your industry, there’s a good chance IoT devices play a role in the success of the business. Whether you use something simple, like smart lightbulbs for an efficient office environment; or something complex, like a network of industrial machines detecting quality control issues in a manufacturing process, IoT is there.
What Is IoT?
IoT is a broad term that refers to many types of devices connected to the internet. These devices can be everything from shipping labels and speakers to cars and planes. They might include smart sensors, lightbulbs, security systems, and heavy industrial machinery — all items that communicate back to the internet and work with it. There is also the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which refers to the same principles but is used in business settings and devices, such as a piece of manufacturing equipment.
So why is IoT important for businesses? IoT in business can take many different forms, but it often involves collecting data on behavior, processes, and other conditions. Many IoT devices also can take action to correct, improve, or otherwise use this data to enact some kind of change. There are many possibilities, and the benefits of IoT are wide-reaching.
The Beneficial Impact of IoT on Businesses
Considering the explosion of IoT-connected devices, perhaps you’re wondering, “How does IoT affect business?” The short answer is, “In every way.”
Accessibility to big data sets, along with the autonomous collection and exchange of data, means that it is becoming easier to gain insights into things like customer behaviors and product performance. IoT also facilitates the continuous optimization of business processes and even impacts employee engagement and performance. In certain industries, IoT in business can instruct systems to autonomously execute transactions in supply chains when certain conditions have been met.
There are many exciting new technologies that make the future of IoT incredibly versatile. Some of these include battery-free sensors, extensive wearable technology, and “tiny” machine learning microcontrollers. There are also many network changes occurring to improve the performance of IoT devices. For instance, network slicing can be used to deliver low-latency, high-bandwidth connections for greater reliability in mission-critical devices.
Combine IoT with technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G, and there’s endless possibilities for businesses. Entire cities are becoming powered by IoT, and security is improving every day. Large manufacturing operations can connect every machine in the facility to a remote monitoring system. Utility companies can remotely collect data from smart meters and connected infrastructure. Health care devices can use IoT to communicate a patient’s status to physicians. Farmers can optimize their harvest with IoT analysis. It’s an extraordinary asset to many businesses.
In short, IoT will allow businesses to better help their customers and manage their workforces, as well as improve their products, services, and processes.
How IoT Helped During the COVID-19 Pandemic
With the events of 2020, what is new in IoT? Some of the newest IoT technologies were used to address the problems presented by the global pandemic:
- Smart building features: Safe facilities were key to preventing the spread of COVID-19, and IoT helped control access and monitor environmental characteristics, such as particulate matter and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). IoT can connect to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, cleaning robots, air quality monitoring, and more, to offer situation-specific, flexible building maintenance that supports safe behaviors.
- Touchless service: Limiting physical contact between employees, customers, and devices was promoted with the help of IoT. From new payment methods to automatic temperature and health screening upon entry, IoT can significantly decrease the need for contact.
- Monitoring: Many facilities have used IoT to monitor and track the risk of infection. They might use sensors to assess how many people are in a certain part of the building and increase disinfection practices. They can also track the temperatures of incoming guests to monitor risk.
Overall, IoT and associated technologies have been an invaluable resource in the fight against the pandemic.
How to Leverage IoT for Your Business
When it comes to how to use the Internet of Things in businesses, the key thing to remember is that new levels of communication and interconnectedness have significant payoffs for almost any business. That’s why the way in which each business decides to leverage IoT within its respective industry and sector is an important choice. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather a highly customized method of gaining a deeper understanding of enhancing and executing specific business objectives.
With this in mind, there are several key points or benefits from IoT that many businesses can explore for their own individual plans for improvement:
- Understand big data: The collection and analysis of big data can offer insights into many factors that are essential to the effective running of a business. First and foremost, IoT can provide insights into all-important market trends as well as product performance. You can leverage these insights to help inform your short- and long-term business strategies.
- Engage each and every customer or client: IoT can provide you with data about each individual customer, so you can deliver personalized service. And with IoT devices connecting you to your consumer base, you can analyze data to better understand each stage of your customers’ purchasing cycles — from how they research, to how they buy and even use your products and services. This will enable you to create more focused and effective marketing campaigns.
- Remote workforce: Research shows that remote work is on the rise. With IoT, the ability for your remote workforce to be even more connected to everything from files to inventory equals greater productivity and a wider range of tasks that can be accomplished remotely.
- Expand your presence: From smarter marketing campaigns keeping you connected to your clients to better communications with all members of your workforce, IoT allows your business to expand its presence both with consumers and employees. What’s more, through collaboration solutions like Presence from Consolidated Technologies, Inc., you achieve levels of flexibility and speed that empower your presence while it expands.
Take Off With the IoT and Consolidated Technologies, Inc.
Clearly, with IoT and its business applications set to expand, you need an IT and communications partner that can guide you through the plethora of cutting-edge innovations so you can successfully leverage this new technology and the resulting data into your business model. That’s why you want Consolidated Technologies, Inc. looking to the future with your business in mind. We don’t just offer tech solutions — we understand the challenges of your business in order to deliver next-generation vision!
Contact us today for more information and answers to all your IoT and IT-related questions.