So, what is the Internet of Things?
If you’ve heard the phrase “Internet of Things” or seen its abbreviation “IoT” lately, but you’re not sure what it means, don’t worry — you’re in good company. Despite there being more than 7 billion IoT devices in the world, a vast majority of consumers are still unclear on what the Internet of Things actually is.
It’s pretty simple. Wherever you are, look around. All of the devices you see that are connected to the internet — except for smartphones, tablets, and computers — are part of the Internet of Things. Basically, the IoT is the collection of interrelated devices, appliances, vehicles, people, etc. that contain sensors, software, electronics, or other technology to connect to the Internet and exchange data or be controlled or monitored remotely.
Right now, there are more devices connected to the Internet than ever before, and the number continues to climb. More data is being created, transferred, and analyzed and, as time goes on, technology will only continue to become more and more ingrained in every facet of our lives — and that goes double for business.
How Businesses Are Adopting IoT
As IoT technology continues to rapidly evolve, businesses will find plenty of new opportunities to incorporate tech, ramp up productivity, and increase efficiency. In fact, many businesses across a wide range of industries have already done just that.
In the financial industry, banks are using IoT data to bring on-demand services closer to customers through kiosks, resulting in increased accessibility of services. Those in the healthcare industry are employing the help of wearable devices to gather data, promote monitoring accuracy, and make their patients’ lives safer. And, retailers are utilizing IoT to increase sales by offering more ways to make transactions.
94% of businesses that have adopted IoT technology have already seen returns on their investments.
These industries and many more are adopting IoT technology, and to great success, with 94% already claiming to see returns on their investments. It’s also estimated that IoT technology could contribute to as much as $19 trillion in cost-savings and profits in the future.
Top 5 Ways IoT is Changing Business
While there are countless ways for businesses to incorporate IoT devices into their business model, there are five specific advantages that are particularly appealing to a majority of companies, regardless of their industry.
For most companies, data is king. It’s how businesses optimize the experience they’re providing to their customers, how they improve products, and how they market themselves. Luckily, with IoT devices, companies will have access to more data than ever before. Smart devices use innovative methods to track and record consumer behavior, which they then relay back to the company, and this allows businesses to improve more quickly and with less guess work.
IoT devices allow companies to monitor every aspect of their business, and this opens the door to huge improvements in efficiency. Essentially, by analyzing different areas of operation through IoT technology, businesses can look for areas for optimization to improve processes. On top of that, utilizing IoT technology allows people to complete more tasks in less time, and that means there are more opportunities to increase profits.
When a business understands the specific ways in which their consumers are using their products, they can market those products significantly more efficiently. By utilizing technology that collects and analyzes immense levels of data, companies can create tailored experiences for customers, develop bolder and more relevant advertising, and be able to target specific audiences with greater ease.
Businesses can create tailored experiences for customers and target specific audiences with the help of IoT technology.
4. Remote Work
With greater advancements in IoT applications, the need for employees to remain on the job site may diminish. For instance, manufacturing facilities that once required an extensive staff of technicians to attend to broken-down machines may begin to incorporate sensors that guard against these events. That would allow one worker to observe the condition of machines remotely, cutting down on the need for on-site employees. IoT technology has already had a significant impact on office workers, with 42 percent of the U.S. workforce now working remotely full-time. Plus, according to recent studies, remote workers tend to feel more job satisfaction — and that’s always a good thing.
5. Inventory Management
For businesses that rely on the constant ebb and flow of physical inventory, they’ll be pleased to know that IoT has the potential to radically improve both tracking and management systems. Through IoT technology, companies may soon be able to track changes in their inventory through a completely automated system. This will allow businesses to reroute their employees’ time to more cognitively significant tasks, increasing efficiency and bolstering their bottom line.
The Future Is Here, and It’s Smart
The world is about get way more connected with the rise in IoT devices. For businesses, this means more opportunities to optimize their business operations and increase their profits. It also means that they must be ready for the initial investment in IoT technology and be prepared for the level of work that comes with managing the new, hi-tech infrastructure. This could mean hiring new, specialized employees and redistributing other workers to new areas of need. The next giant boom in technology has already begun, and if businesses want to stay competitive in the new scene, they have to be prepared.