If trying to figure out how IoT fits into your business seems overwhelming, rest easy – you likely use several IoT devices every day without even realizing it. Around 8.4 billion IoT devices were in use in 2017 – a 31 percent increase over 2016. The key is harnessing that power to automate repetitive tasks and boost your productivity. In short: IoT stands for the “Internet of Things,” and it includes devices that use sensors to gather data, which is then transported to the cloud and processed. In turn, insights gathered from the data come through the user interface. For small businesses, this means the ability to make informed, efficient decisions.
Here are five IoT systems to grow your business:
Hiring a full-time security guard isn’t just costly – it’s limiting. After all, one person can’t be everywhere at once. But with a connected security system, you can get close. Smart cameras upload to the cloud, so you can access footage from days or even months earlier. Tired of accidentally forgetting to lock the doors? Set a smart lock to open or close at set times of the day, which translates to more security and peace of mind. You can also create digital keys for employees that won’t get lost or stolen and can be created – or revoked – at any time. And if the worst-case scenario comes true and disaster strikes your business – say, an intruder breaks in – an IoT security system can automatically notify authorities and send you an alert via email or text message.
Of course, we all dream about having an assistant to handle the grunt work – but for most small businesses, that goal is unrealistic. Enter digital assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. These systems work on your phone, laptop, smart speaker and more. Control other smart devices, take notes, schedule reminders, post to social media, look up information… the possibilities for lightening your workload of mundane tasks are just about endless.
Shipments and Inventory
With the help of smart tags and sensors, you can track just about any product in real time. Know precisely when packages will be delivered, automatically update inventory logs and receive alerts when you need to reorder. The resulting data can even help you maximize space and implement more efficient processes, saving money and manpower.
Thermostats and Lighting
You know you could be more energy efficient – but how do you do it without sacrificing productivity? IoT is the answer. Smart thermostats and lightbulbs track energy usage and can be managed either remotely with an Internet-enabled device or programmed to execute actions automatically. Is a section of your office consistently empty from noon to 3 pm? Switch off the lights. Do changing weather conditions cause variations in the temperature? Let the system continually adjust back to 77 degrees. All of this translates to more conscious energy usage, which benefits the environment and your bottom line.
Component Performance and Failure
Wouldn’t it be great if you knew a component was going to fail – before it happened? Sensors monitor the performance of individual components in a product, so you can replace them before failure leads to downtime. This doesn’t just apply to technology – imagine the impact of fewer wasted perishable goods and fewer materials damaged during manufacturing.
Don’t let the broad scope of IoT scare you – no matter your industry, smart technology can help you work more efficiently, converse energy and increase your bottom line. Ready to put your tech to work for you? Contact us today to see what we can do for your business.