Over the last few years, the term, IoT (Internet of Things), has become a catchphrase in the business industry, especially the Tech part of it. Most organizations, whether a start-up or a long-playing one, are nowadays looking for ways and means to incorporate the same into their tech infrastructure and brace the digital transformation trend. Benefit of IoT, some common examples of IoT devices around us are smart refrigerators, smartwatches, smart door lock, medical sensors, fitness trackers, smart security systems, etc.
As per a report, the global IoT market was worth over $150 billion in 2018 and is expected to exceed $1.5 trillion by 2025.
While large-scale business organizations are employing IoT towards predictive maintenance in field services, small businesses are not far behind. But how are they doing it? Is there a way where other small businesses can benefit from the implementation of IoT tech? Let’s have a look at the possibilities.
Boosting Overall Customer Experience
In essence, small businesses can make any of their everyday tech remarkable just by pairing it up with an IoT system. For example, with IoT, a car can calculate the overall length of a trip, oversee traffic conditions, and reduce overall fuel consumption.
On the other hand, the logistics organizations can implement tags on the vehicles and track their movement remotely. Moreover, a coffee shop owner, too, can track the favorite drinks of his/her loyal customers and provide reward points based on a purchase. It, in turn, can improve their relationship with the customers and boost overall sales.
Accumulating Network-based Data for Marketing Purposes
With the proper implementation of IoT, small businesses can also track the behavior of their customers or the target audience. Moreover, they can also outsource the same task to some other smaller marketing organization to get a clearer picture of the scenario.
With IoT, they can keep an eye on the product consumption pattern of their customers and their shopping patterns. Thus, if they do get data regarding both purchasing and searching, then it will be easier for them to create a new marketing strategy.
Cybercrime has become quite prominent these days. According to a study, around 62% of business organizations had dealt with social engineering and phishing attacks in 2018. The cyberattacks tend to be quite terrible and, thus, can cause a huge amount of loss for an organization.
So, as a small business, do you want to avert these issues as effectively as possible? Then, IoT can help you out in this aspect. With it, you can track the exchanges between one machine to another and find out the malicious websites with ease. Now, all you have to do is to block the IP addresses and prevent yourself from visiting them. If you do opt for a cloud-based IoT provider, then the implementation of this system would be even more straightforward.
Lowering the Overall Labor Cost
As per the data of WEF, around 75 million people will be disposed of their jobs due to AI implementation. However, the same report also suggests that it will create almost 133 million jobs as well. But that’s not the main issue here. In the upcoming years, many workplaces are going to replace their employees with AI for managing difficult tasks, like handling the economic system, for more accuracy. So, as a small business owner, what are your options?
For example, if you do use Alexa for your business, then it will remind you of your orders and help you to manage your tasks perfectly. Furthermore, you can also use smart locks on the doorways of your store to avoid any mishaps. This is where a sensor-based security system can help a small business.
And even with the widespread disruption caused by the pandemic, businesses of all scales have realized how the lack of specialized workforce and implementation of social distancing can challenge their business continuity. While this is unfortunate, businesses are now resorting to labor cost-cutting and even terminating work contracts.
Infrastructure and Machine Maintenance
As mentioned before, you can create an effective tracking system with IoT. So, if you want, then you can use it on your infrastructure materials and machines to supervise their overall condition and performance on a daily basis. A lot of transport authorities are also employing IoT-based sensors on the cars, which alerts about malfunctions almost instantly. It, in turn, helps in detecting the problem quickly and solving it before the tragic accidents occur.
Inventory mapping and management
If you are a budding eCommerce business owner, this pointer might come in handy for you. Just like Amazon using barcodes, software, and connected machines for manless deliveries, you can also attempt to use IoT devices for inventory control. With the use of sensors and cameras, small businesses can bring in remote and centralized inventory management, including automated restocking. They can take the extra step and make their delivery fully automated and controlled by a central app or system.
Please note that running a fully automated eCommerce business required having a robust website and applications in place. This is where your web hosting performance and other digital real estate make an impact. Make sure you choose wisely only after proper research and reviews.
GPS-based Data Aggregation
Currently, the IoT-based programs are primarily being used for GPS-based data aggregation systems. The organizations can pull in data regarding weather, demographics, and infrastructure all at once. Moreover, they can also use it to get location-based information and pictorial data. With data aggregation, data redundancy can be eliminated and energy efficiency can be improved, increasing the lifespan of Wireless Sensor Networks.
Autonomous Robots and AVs
Do you own a transport service? Ever heard of Autonomous Vehicles aka AVs? The autonomous mobile robot (AMR) technology is assisting warehouses with shopfloor logistics, helping lower freight and logistics costs, improving fuel efficiency, and reducing delivery times. While in practice, this remains a large-scale business pattern, small businesses can adopt the same in their capacity. This is yet another excellent application of IoT that can help you to save up on your costs and keep track of your vehicles proficiently.
What are the Must-use IoT Applications for Businesses?
There are several excellent IoT-based applications available out there that can enhance the proficiency of your business by a mile. The following are some of the most prominent ones among them.
- Shipping Trackers: The IoT-based shipping trackers are a type of small devices that can provide a real-time location on any vehicle. You can attach it to both on four-wheelers as well as packages to track the same, ensuring timely delivery and safety of both.
- RFID Tags: The RFID tags usually contain a lot of data and information about a product. You can simply scan them for getting the required data out or keep track of the movement, especially if you are shipping internationally.
- IoT Productivity Suite of Microsoft Azure: A cloud-based service that can aid you in accumulating and analyzing data to gain more insights on a particular aspect, small businesses are now coming around to the idea of digital transformation using IoT and other smart technologies.
So, as you can see, IoT is now being used in various manners to get the best out of any business, whether small or large. However, the usage of technology primarily depends on your industry and working environment. So, if you are excited about the possibilities that IoT can bring about for your business, make sure that you do the necessary research, look at your industry counterparts and their implementation of IoT, and then set up a plan of action to get the tech on board for your true business transformation.