How The Internet of Things Will Benefit Small Businesses
So you’ve heard about the internet of things?
What is the Internet of Things
The internet of things a term used to describe a system in which objects are capable of communicating with each other and us. These networks are created with sensors or other data collecting devices, that connect and communicate with each other. This article will explain how the ‘internet of things’ opens up new possibilities for collecting and using big data, that small businesses are sure to benefit from.
The internet of things is capable doing some pretty incredible things; like creating entire ecosystems of hundreds of devices. With so many devices able to communicate with each other, these ecosystems could become intelligent enough to enact automated responses to a variety of situations; allowing for businesses to become even more productive and efficient.
Why Should You Be Interested?
It’s no surprise that Gartner is predicting that there’ll be 24 billion compatible devices in a matter of four years. This steady implementation has been ongoing for quite a while now, with the British government already investing £73 million in the venture. Other big names like Google and Tesla are backing the internet of things and they’ll certainly be more; with a massive £4.5 trillion predicted to be invested in the solution.
Being able to connect almost anything to the internet; from construction equipment to cars, means that entirely new efficient and automated systems could be put in place. Businesses can automatically send and receive all manner of useful information; such as energy usage, building temperatures, security updates and more. The internet of things is designed to make this information more accessible; saving businesses both time and money.
We’re already seeing companies benefit from implementing these connected networks; tool sellers Stanley Black & Decker, for example, are currently investing in connecting their products to the cloud. Stanley Black & Decker plan to sell intelligent equipment designed to relay important information directly to their users. By providing this clever construction solution, this company is getting a serious commercial edge over their rivals.
What makes the internet of things even more appealing, is that the data collected can be compiled into accessible formats, to be analysed and used to inform decisions. For example, fleet tracking device; SmartCam, does this by monitoring things like fuel usage and vehicle mileage, and sending the data over in generated reports. Producing and sending ready-made reports saves companies valuable time, and automates otherwise repetitive tasks.
The real-time factor of the internet of things promises to save businesses even more time and money. Any information collected can be quickly sent to the right people; this means that if a potential disaster rears its head, businesses will be able to respond to it straight away. And with 5G on the horizon, faster network speeds mean that this form of business continuity has the potential to become even more fool proof.
Additionally, the internet of things opens up whole of new marketing possibilities. For example, being able to receive data from products could provide businesses with detailed information about how it was sold; who bought it, when it was bought, how it was bought etc.… This, in turn, would enable businesses to market their products in a more focused manner. Sellers would be able to analyse the best time to put out certain stock and who to market it to much more efficiently.
The majority of systems built around the internet of things often use apps or online dashboards to communicate information. This means that not only are they easy to grasp, but they’re also easy to install and produce very little disruption. Having their devices connected to the cloud allows users to receive the data almost anywhere; whether at a desktop or on a mobile. These features are what makes the ‘internet of things’ such a gradual, and yet accessible tech movement for small businesses to become a part of.
However, as with any new technology promising a revolution, the ‘internet of things’ does pose some risks. With yet more connections to the internet, there are even more ways for hackers to try and illegally slip into company networks. Additionally, the prospect of there being more data to hold for ransom, could potentially drive more hacker traffic towards business networks.
But with the right security measures, the internet of things could be used to solve a multitude of problems. Small businesses could not only benefit from implementing the internet of things into their own structures, but there’s a lot of potential profit to be made by providing exciting solutions around it. Think of routine problems you or your company face every day, if there isn’t a service that the internet of things is already solving, then you could be making money providing one.
If you weren’t already interested in investing in the internet of things before reading this article, you should be now.