5 Benefits of the Internet of Things for SMBs
How Implementing Internet of Things Tech Can Improve Your Business
The benefits of Internet of Things (IoT) tech has changed how SMBs approach the use of devices in the workplace. In today’s digital landscape, devices; machines; and objects of all sizes can automatically transfer data through a network, effectively “talking” with each other in real time.
For small businesses, increasing reliance on the Internet of Things represents a type of industrial revolution, with over 50% of new businesses predicted to dive into IoT technology as soon as next year.
For SMBs, this surge of technology provides not only opportunities to expand into a rapidly growing market, but also a chance to use IoT technology to become more productive, more protected, and more profitable.
Benefits of the Internet of Things
Let’s look at several ways SMBs can leverage the future of the Internet of Things and its cutting-edge technology to improve critical aspects of business.
1. Cost Reduction
The more businesses use IoT devices to streamline operations and increase profitability, the more Internet of Things technologies will be tailored to help those businesses succeed. From cybersecurity to workplace efficiency, IoT devices are already making an impact on companies’ bottom lines.
For example, energy monitoring devices allow workplaces to control thermostats room by room from a mobile app to frees up staff time and contribute to successful energy management.
And, through the use of IoT, security cameras can be viewed remotely so access can be tracked and recorded, reducing the possibility of loss from theft.
Maintenance costs are also positively impacted when IoT devices are employed to keep business equipment running at peak efficiency. On-the-fly troubleshooting of office equipment catches problems before they impact staff and employees.
This minimizes costly extended downtime for repairs—just one of the benefits the Internet of Things brings to your operations and maintenance workflow.
There are also numerous ways to use IoT technology to favorably impact your bottom line through cost-cutting, a top driver of IoT investment for many companies.
For example, an IoT device can be configured to send critical information right to tech support computers upon detecting an issue—saving labor costs over an expensive service call and keeping downtime to a minimum.
2. Efficiency & Productivity
Efficiency is the basis for the kind of improved productivity that boosts revenue for SMBs.
One way to leverage the power of IoT to increase company efficiency is to use it to cut down on repetitive or time-consuming tasks. An example IoT function for this strategy would be an automated PDF conversion and creation tool that removes the obstacles to PDF editing and archiving, increasing communication and documentation speeds.
These IoT tools also increase the kind of inter/intra-office communication that results in heightened productivity. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review, 58% of companies are seeing increased collaboration through the use of IoT devices.
In the work environment, IoT can be used to optimize an office floor plan and mobilize company resources—like copiers, printers, and WiFi bandwidth—for a more optimized workflow and a more streamlined and effective approach to management.
Finally, using big data analytics through IoT can provide an overview of employee productivity and help determine what tasks are improving the function of your business—and which are impairing it.
Big data can also be instrumental in tracking efficiency for manufacturing supply chains. You can follow delivery systems and monitor products and inventory to stay ahead of demand.
Additionally, you ensure that your hardware and software are appropriately matched to provide service without lag time to employees and customers.
3. Business Opportunities
While many businesses strive to access the revenue-producing power of digital services, most lack a cohesive strategy for pursuing this avenue. IoT is a game-changer in this respect, as advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, and smart utility grids make it easy for SMBs to collect actionable data needed to provide the value their customers are seeking.
These analytics provide new insights that are not only being utilized to create new business models, but completely redefining traditional industries.
For example, IoT sensors on automobiles that can track speed and driving habits help insurers optimize rates on automobile insurance. Retailers can use IoT to measure in-store foot traffic to optimize displays for maximum impact based on customer habits.
The use of IoT has so much impact on business systems that 36% of companies are considering new directions in business thanks to their IoT initiatives.
As a result of IoT’s ability to connect products and services as they relate to customer behaviors, more businesses are delivering new or updated products and services to an expanded customer base.
With more data available through IoT than ever before on customer preferences and product performance over time, businesses are able to use this and predict the behavior patterns and needs of consumers better than ever.
4. Customer Experience
While IoT technology has so far mostly influenced back-end processes because of its relatively new presence, today’s IoT has meant that omni-channel strategies have completely upended the way consumers approach their relationships with businesses.
Front-end customer engagement has become a priority for organizations as they look to engage better with their audiences, usually through IoT devices.
Sensors attached to devices can return data that outline how customers are using your products. This in turn allows sales teams to pinpoint areas of weakness and craft targeted, personalized communication that helps customers get the most out of their purchases.
These analytics can focus in on customers’ interests and help businesses improve or increase product or service features for a value-added customer experience.
The benefit to using IoT to understand how customers are interacting with your product? The more customized your marketing content, the better your ROI. Using IoT can help you market your services or products to your customers exactly when they need it for better conversions.
5. Mobility & Agility
The nature of IoT technology means that businesses now have the opportunity to let their employees conduct their work from virtually any location—flexibility that can provide key advantages to SMBs in particular.
Office leases aren’t cheap, and the IoT revolution has allowed a surge in small and mid-sized businesses changing the way they operate—hiring more full-time remote employees in “work from anywhere” positions.
Such is the improvement in agility for SMBs, an estimated 43% of businesses that implement IoT policies into their organizations experience increased business agility by improving the way operational processes are conducted.
- Businesses can use advanced IoT analytics to improve efficiency and productivity and reduce costs
- The IoT is producing new business opportunities through innovation as well as by redefining traditional business operation models
- Customer experience is key for increased revenue and IoT provides ways to track customer behaviors for maximum impact
- Businesses should safeguard data flowing to and from IoT devices for optimal security and to avoid halts in service
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