Make the IoT Work for Your Business
By now you’ve probably heard the term Internet of Things (IoT). You may not completely understand what it is, but you know it has something to do with all those “smart” devices that you see popping up everywhere. Today, we thought we’d get into what types of things are on the IoT and how they can have an impact on your business.
What Is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things started growing a decade or so ago as “smart” technologies were being developed to present people with technology that they can use to make their lives easier. This concept is what technology is all about, after all, and it quickly became a business opportunity for OEM (original equipment manufacturers) and other companies. This has led to a massive explosion of “smart” devices designed to unburden the lives of their users.
Of course, the more businesses that are developing this technology, the more tools will be aimed to transform business. There are now 14 billion IoT devices (including smartphones) connected to the Internet, so there is a breadth of options for businesses to choose from. It’s also one of the more funded technology markets by venture capital firms with close to $5 billion being invested annually, as the practical use of IoT is just now scratching the surface.
The IoT Is Everywhere
The IoT can be used in multiple ways in and around your business; and each adds its own unique variables to the way you go about integrating them. Obviously, a large portion of your employees have smartphones, that is an added consideration because you need to ensure that all those mobile devices are working with the applications that you use; or, if you don’t go that far, at least that they don’t bring unwanted passengers along on to your network.
More complex industrial IoT (IIoT) platforms can really alter the way a business operates, so training will have to be considered to help your employees understand how they work. There is a lot of good that the IoT can do, but it also comes with some challenges. Not only do you need to set up your IoT platform from the ground up, but you also need to make sure that it integrates with your back-end software systems and any other applications that would provide the benefits needed to implement them.
Set up and Security Questions for the Implementation of Business IoT
For most businesses looking to implement IoT to help automate some things will first start by using it in the ways that your average home consumer might. You get systems that can help save you on utility costs and help you save time (smart thermostats, smart lights, voice-driven personal assistant hubs, etc.).
More complex systems like asset tracking and inventory management allow for pinpoint control over supply chain issues. This can get complicated, quickly, but that’s the point. The IoT helps humans do things humans couldn’t do without these tools. It is the perfect confluence of human-made tools (hardware and applications) and constant data streaming that can help businesses automate more and collect more data to help them make better business decisions.
Businesses need their technology to be scalable and secure. This is where the IoT hits a snag a lot of the time. There are serious security questions with any number of devices, but that part of it is improving. For the business, however, “improving” could mean “still too expensive/risky”. The truth is that any business can utilize some form of IoT to help them cut costs, improve efficiency, and improve decision making. You just need to know how.