Internet of Things (IoT): What Is It and How Is It Affecting Your Business?

what is iot

The Internet of Things refers to the technology in many electronics that use online access for sharing information. Many people use these devices on a daily basis whether it’s wearable technology for monitoring health or the smartphone in their pockets that act as a mobile office. Devices such as smart-enabled appliances connect businesses to a world of access such as sending an email to a printer on the other side of the planet. It’s this intricate web of Internet connectivity of these products that defines what is IoT.

The Internet of Things is all about sharing information quickly regardless of where you are. According to a recently released research by Ericsson, Internet of Things is expected to surpass mobile phones as the largest category of connected devices in 2018. Between 2015 and 2021, IoT is expected to increase at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 percent, making up close to 16 billion of the total forecast 28 billion connected devices by 2021.

From Wi-Fi access to Bluetooth technology, a multitude of devices constantly send information across the Internet. The culmination of data that can be received from a wide range of products can be used to make smarter business decisions and monitor the progress of many different facets in the organization.

What the Internet of Things Does For Business

Although a great deal of smart-enabled technology is geared towards personal use, businesses also benefit greatly from this innovation. It’s a way to remain in communication while sharing information with any employee almost instantly. Here are some of the most common aspects of IoT in the business world.

1. Data Collection

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One of the most prominent methods in which companies use smart technology is to collect data for manufactured products. Knowing how your target consumer utilizes a specific piece of merchandise can open the doors to a wide scope of analytics for future improvements of those goods. For example, a smart-enabled golf club could record swing power and impact resistance in order to formulate a new way to build a driver.

2. Information Sharing with Customers

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Three out of four consumers say that customer support is the driving factor of doing business with any company. Since smart technology can accumulate a wide scope of information and present it in an easy-to-read platform, the data can be quite beneficial for target consumers. An example of this is how some farming equipment companies share crop planting and plowing information with tractor customers. This offers a layer of customer service by helping the individual beyond the simple purchase of the product.

3. Clarity Within the Organization

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According to statistics, one-third of projects fail in businesses because of a lack of senior management and communication. When smart technology is involved with regular updates for products and services, there is greater clarity within the organization. It’s easier to keep track of things like tools, inventory and even office supplies. It can be a measure of cost cutting as the business spends less on replacing things that have become misplaced or lost. Information sharing is at the heart of what is IoT. Clarity can also come in the form of better communication between employees. Chat applications, video conferencing from smartphones and tablets, team management tools and more utilize the power and versatility of the Internet to boost productivity and reduce errors and complications.

4. Greener Way to Do Business

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Approximately 90 percent of consumers consider eco-friendliness as a factor when making purchases. The Internet of Things includes methods in which to conduct a greener business. Moving to a paperless system for documents is only the beginning of eco-friendliness of the workplace. Some experts point out that many IoT tools play into reducing the waste and consumption of fuels while enhancing energy efficiency in the business dynamic. A greener way to do business is not only good for the environment, it can also save the business money in a myriad of ways. Office supplies, energy star compliant electronics and even the use of personal smartphones for work could save the organization a great deal of money over time.

5. Device Management Mobility

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Managing mobile devices doesn’t merely include company smartphones and tablets. This kind of device management can also include things like security cameras, televisions and other components. For instance, many brands of IP cameras can be accessed from anywhere there is an Internet connection. Building security systems could be easily monitored from a vacation hot-spot from the other side of the world. Even time management systems can be viewed from home to determine current attendance. All of this can be done from apps installed on your own smartphone or through web-portals on desktop computers.

6. Enhancing Business Travel

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Due to the mass collection of data, planning out travel arrangements has never been easier. Apps can inform travelers of flight delays and traffic as systems analyze everything from weather to movement on the freeways. Some systems in city garages can also determine parking before you get to the structure.

7. Changes in Online Security

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While adding new devices to the IoT can be greatly beneficial in many different ways, it also increases the risks. Malware can be used to infiltrate virtually any device that is connected to the Internet. This means that stronger security measures need to be put into place in order to protect your organization and your website. Theoretically, a coffee pot with data stored in memory could be used to send spam email from your network. Although this may sound absurd, there is potential for such an instance.

8. Changes in Company Equipment

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Organizations that don’t utilize smart-enabled devices will be at a serious disadvantage. The basis of IoT is to make processes streamlined and easy to access. This means you may have to replace a great deal of equipment in your facility or even change the procedures of your employees. However, this upgrade to the business may offer a substantial increase to productivity and efficiency. As long as your employees are willing to change the way they work to incorporate enhanced technology, the process of upgrading could be easy for everyone.

9. Promoting Education

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Educating staff on how to use the new tech is vital to making it work for the business. Offering something that can streamline the business may be futile if no one knows how to use it. This is why it’s important to invest in educating employees on each piece of equipment. There may be available tools and capabilities that are lying dormant that could vastly enhance your business. An employee who knows how to take advantage of those features could become a greater asset.

Enhanced communication is the soul of what is IoT. Whether it’s between employees or devices, information is shared on a grand scale. This has potential to improve business practices by reducing waste, time and confusion. By enhancing efficiency in the workplace, the business has greater potential for profits. Find the devices that work best for your company and reap the benefits from the Internet of Things.

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