For years, technophiles and online marketers have touted the ocean of enterprise possibilities that comes with the Internet of Things (IoT). While many of these opportunities initially seemed far off in the future, the speed of IoT adoption in everyday activities is demonstrating that the practical uses of IoT are already with us.
Some reports have estimated there’ll be close to 30 billion IoT devices by 2020. Despite the growing relevance of IoT, many businesses aren’t doing enough to get ready or take advantage. The following is a look at how IoT is changing the entrepreneurial landscape.
1. Data, Lots of Data
The growth of Internet and computing devices has been accompanied by an exponential growth in the amount of data generated each day. This data is already of an enormous scale. Yet, IoT will push data volume to even greater heights. IoT devices will create far more data than businesses have ever dealt with before.
Smart meters and other home appliances will monitor and record user behavior allowing businesses and manufacturers to make informed product enhancements and recommendations. Companies that will outmaneuver the competition are those that can meaningfully leverage such voluminous information.
2. Inventory Management
IoT will change how businesses manage and track inventory. This will be especially valuable to companies whose model is greatly hinged on manufacturing, storage, warehousing and distribution.
The traditional approach to tech-based inventory management depended on remote scanners to keep tabs on inventory piece by piece. IoT will tap into the capabilities of smart devices in order to fully automate the practice of inventory management. This will free employees to concentrate on more cognition-dependent tasks.
3. Telemetry and Remote Work
Employees will no longer need to be physically present in a given location to stay up to date with changes. Thanks to telemetry and IoT, remote sensors can collect data in real-time and transmit it to a central server for analysis.
IoT also opens up new possibilities for telecommuting. So far, remote work has involved an employee with a laptop or smartphone using the internet to communicate with their colleagues. Thanks to IoT, remote workers can be more involved in what happens at the office.
That, for example, means the ability to initiate a process on a factory floor hundreds of kilometers away with a simple tap of their smartphone. As a plus, remote workers usually have a healthier work-life balance which augurs well for overall organizational productivity.
4. Shortened Buying Cycles
IoT will provide consumers with far greater power, information and choice than they’ve had before. This access to data will dramatically reduce the buying cycle. With just a couple of clicks or spoken phrases, consumers will be able to locate and order the exact product they are looking for.
Manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and logistics providers will have to align their technology and processes accordingly to keep up with these advancing consumer expectations.
5. Productivity and Efficiency
IoT will speed up business processes. It will also enhance productivity and efficiency. Entrepreneurs will accomplish more in less time. Think about how invoice templates have expedited the invoicing process (see a free sample invoice as an example).
IoT will drive efficiency to a whole new level. Large-scale and difficult tasks can be executed with greater precision. Fewer hands than before will be needed to oversee the scaling of business operations.
6. New Employee Skills
Employees will be able to accomplish much more with IoT than they did before. However, the kind of skills businesses look for when hiring will also need to change in tandem with the new operating environment.
For starters, businesses will need IT staff who are experts in IoT technology and can shepherd the integration of IoT devices into existing technology infrastructure. They’ll also need upskilled data analysts who can extract useful insights from the large volume of information generated by the ever expanding network of enterprise and consumer gadgets.
These examples are just scratching the surface. The possibilities are vast. Businesses that will benefit from IoT are those that keep an open-mind and are ready to change with the times.