As a business owner or manager, it may be difficult to overlook the increasing prevalence of the Internet of Things, or IoT, in society. In fact, you may hear about it in everyday conversation both in work and in your personal life or read stories about it online.
The Internet of Things is a term that describes the connectivity of various items to the Internet, such as wearable devices, garage door openers, cars, headphones and more. These are items that have software or sensors embedded in them so that they have network connectivity.
As a business professional, it is imperative that you think about how IoT will impact your business in various ways in the near future. Here are some points to consider.
Access to Data
Increased connectivity may provide you with enhanced data about your consumers, and your marketing and advertising efforts can dramatically be improved because of access to this data. Consider that your consumers are connected to various devices that essentially can be used by your business to gather and collect data.
You can track this data to better analyze consumer data and trends. Through this analysis, you can enhance your products and find new and creative ways to market your products and services to your customers.
On an internal level, increased access to data through the IoT can tell you more about how your employees work and how to improve operations. If you want to prepare for the incredible influx of data that you may have available at your fingertips soon, you need invest in new data analysts and visualization software.
If your company keeps inventory on hand, consider that the Internet of Things can enhance how you track and manage inventory on a regular basis. You may currently use a standard bar code tracking system to manage inventory, or you may ask your employees to spend their time and energy using remote scanners to track inventory and to keep tabs on equipment and machines.
The Internet of Things could potentially improve this process by connecting your inventory, equipment and more into a single network. Your employees could, therefore, spend their valuable time on more productive activities, and you may even be able to decrease your workforce.
An improvement in your inventory and equipment tracking efforts could minimize loss. More than that, you would have real-time inventory figures at your fingertips on demand.
Companies are increasingly implementing telecommuting policies which allow their workers to work remotely at least one or two days a week. Studies have shown that remote workers are more able to balance their work-life responsibilities. They are also happier and show enhanced productivity in their positions than those employees who do not work remotely.
However, there are technological challenges associated with remote work activities. Thankfully, the Internet of Things incorporates cloud-based technology so that tablets and laptops can be used from any location with a wireless Internet connection.
Remote workers may also be able to access your connected equipment at work, such as an office printer or copier or even machines located on a factory floor. Ultimately, this can help you to enjoy a more productive and efficient workforce regardless of where they are located at.
In a business environment, time is money, and you simply need to find more efficient ways to complete tasks if you want to stay as productive as possible. The Internet of Things can help you and your customers speed up their daily processes in various ways.
The IoT also gives consumers easier consumer research options and faster buying methods. This decreases the length of your company’s overall sales cycle. Because all of the vendors, such as supplies and logistics providers, who you work with, will have access to this same level of technology, you will find that the entire business process speeds up. This may yield happier customers and increased profits.
While time is critical, it is also important to consider how much you can accomplish within that period of time. Your consumers may benefit from instant gratification with a fast buying cycle and your company will benefit from improved productivity and efficiency. On a large-scale basis, your team can complete many tasks more precisely and in less time, and this includes data management and analysis and more.
You may even be able to trim down your staff while increasing productivity. Decreasing overhead while increasing productivity is a top goal for many businesses, and the Internet of Things enables this. You should be prepared to pay for the technological upgrade associated with connectivity. However, in exchange for this up-front cost, you can benefit in the long-run through improved productivity.
Technology has rapidly evolved over the last century or more, and it has continuous affected the way companies do business. The connectivity associated with the Internet of Things is the latest wave of technological advancement that is changing the business environment. As a business owner or manager, you should begin exploring different ways that you can use this technology to your benefit, and you should begin implementing its use soon to enjoy those benefits.
About the Author
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in the business world. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.