IoT is a big idea. It touches everyone and has many uses and potentials. The endless purposes of IoT can make it seem intimidating and for the exclusive use of large corporations. But it doesn’t have to be.
So how do we take this big idea and apply it to our small business? Easily.
Since the purposes of IoT are pretty boundless, businesses can choose which IoT applications are best for them and scale it to the size of their company. In doing so, small businesses can take advantage of the data collection, cost savings and improved efficiency that can come from IoT.
Running a small business can be very rewarding and often very stressful. Businesses are expensive and there is usually a ton of work to be done, so any tools that can relieve costs and simplify tasks are of great help. This is where IoT can come in.
Thanks to IoT, businesses can buy new technologies that are affordable and make a huge impact. For example, virtual assistants. Google Assistant is a great option for businesses that need to break-away from mindless tasks so they can focus on the money-driving parts of their business. Google Assistant can help by scheduling meetings, taking notes and writing emails all through voice commands.
Using IoT devices can also help you minimize overhead costs. By using automated thermostats or light controls, you can program the system to use energy only when needed. In our busy days, it’s easy to forget to turn off the lights in the boardroom or turn down the air conditioning when the weather cools. By having a system there to do all these things for you, you’ll save energy and have more money to invest back into the company.
One of the key benefits to IoT is unleashing all the data it is able to collect. This data is great for businesses of any size as it helps reveal key insights about operations and customers.
With more and more connected devices being used, businesses have so many opportunities to collect data on their customers. For example, businesses can collect customer data by offering free wifi in their store. The information collected by the wifi router can reveal how long customers are in the store, based upon how long they’re connected to the wifi. It can also tell what sites customers are browsing when they’re in the store. This will give great insights into what social media platforms customers are using so businesses can be more strategic with their advertising.
Another great way to capture customer data is through apps. In the service industry, a mechanic could create an app for customers to use for booking car repairs, scheduling an oil change or making general inquiries. This app will help collect and combine key information about visit frequency, time preferences and any major concerns of your clientele. Building an app doesn’t have to be expensive and can be cheaper and more accurate than buying third-party consumer insights.
Where to begin?
There are many ways small businesses can leverage IoT, but it can be hard to know where to start. Pinpointing areas of concern or existing holes in your knowledge of the company is often a good place to start. You can then choose IoT applications that will help you solve these problems. Additionally, starting small can be the best way to begin using IoT applications. This will help companies to adapt to changes and also understand what tools work best.
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Boire, R., & Boire Filler Group. (2017, August 03). Predictive Analytics and the Internet of Things. Retrieved from https://www.predictiveanalyticsworld.com/patimes/predictive-analytics-and-the-internet-of-things/7282/
Brown, C. (2019, March 15). Five Ways You Should Be Incorporating IoT In Your Small Business. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/03/15/five-ways-you-should-be-incorporating-iot-in-your-small-business/#49442add7dc5
Shoemaker, C. H. (n.d.). IoT Data: How to Collect, Process, and Analyze Them. Retrieved from https://it.toolbox.com/blogs/carmashoemaker/iot-data-how-to-collect-process-and-analyze-them-032619
Weinberger, G. (2018, November 01). A Lean Approach to Predictive Analytics for IoT. Retrieved from https://www.iotevolutionworld.com/iot/articles/440111-lean-approach-predictive-analytics-iot.htm