3 Ways the Internet of Things Benefits Your Small Business

by J.B. Maverick

2 min read

The internet of things, also known as the IoT, is the inter-networking of various types of smart devices, buildings, and vehicles through a variety of embedded sensors, actuators, and software. The result is that the objects can collect, share, and analyze data in a way that results in efficiencies not possible in the past. The global IoT industry is expected to be $1.7 trillion by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of about 17%.Microsoft Canada conducted a survey of top-level Canadian Executives. As of 2016, over half were completely unaware of what the internet of things was, 72% said they were confused by it, and 24% said they had no sense of how it will affect business. Here are three reasons how it will.

Real-Time Operations with More Efficiency

In the coming years, businesses will likely upgrade their equipment to ensure that the all the devices are “smart” and connected to the internet. More connected devices leads to greater efficiency and greater intelligence in the marketplace. The more IoT devices a company uses, the more intelligent operational decision will become, and the greater the company’s advantage will be.Two examples of this efficiency are brought up by Microsoft in a recent report: “Point-of-sale scanners on a retail floor are connected to warehouse systems and analytics software at headquarters for industry-leading efficiency in inventory. Robots on a factory floor send production and maintenance information directly to those who need it, for unparalleled reliability and uptime.”

Companies Can Create Smarter Products

In the past, most people thought that phones were only used to make phone calls. The mobile revolution changed all that. Now most of us use the phones in our pockets for calls, messaging, internet connectivity, commerce, and photography. The same type of paradigm shift will occur with many more types of products thanks to the internet of things. Smart appliances for the home, smart wearable devices, smart cars, and more will completely revolutionize what a customer expects from a product.A great example is the smart refrigerator. An IoT-enabled refrigerator will revolutionize the entire food-chain distribution industry. Perhaps in the future, trips to the grocery store will no longer be necessary when the refrigerator itself, through an array of sensors and software, will know exactly what a person needs and orders the products directly from a specialized warehouse, bypassing many companies within the supply chain.

Exponentially More Data Collection

Since the IoT is all about sensors and connectivity, businesses will be able to collect any sort of data they desire and as often as they desire. Tiny IoT sensors will be embedded in any product imaginable, from cement in bridges, to food containers, to sneakers. The data sent back into the cloud can be used to iterate products faster than ever before. No longer will surveys or long, error-prone studies be needed. Actual product-in-use data will be available at a scale never seen before, instantly.

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