The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing how businesses operate today — and business leaders are gradually realizing its importance in their companies. IoT’s growing collection of devices, like smartphones and manufacturing robots, are interconnected to the internet.
Thanks to the interconnection, these devices can send and receive data — providing various actions used in everyday business. IoT is being integrated into businesses more each day, and by 2025, there will be 152,200 IoT devices connecting to the internet each minute. Meanwhile, IoT will potentially generate $4 trillion to $11 trillion in economic value.
What Is IoT?
IoT refers to the network of objects — “things” — embedded with sensors, software and other technologies. These sensor-equipped devices allow them to connect and exchange data with each other via the internet.
IoT devices can be anything from shipping labels to the refrigerator in your kitchen. So, how does this impact businesses?
IoT in business can take on many different forms. However, it often involves collecting data on consumer behavior and improving processes. Many organizations find that IoT is helping the way they operate. It provides new insights, increases efficiency and allows companies to make more informed decisions.
IoT gives organizations the data they need to understand what’s happening within their business. They can gather reams of data and use it within artificial intelligence (AI) systems to identify behavior patterns — which were previously unidentifiable.
How to Use IoT in Business
With the emergence of the digital revolution, businesses have the opportunity to leverage IoT, gain a competitive advantage and improve customer experience. However, IoT creates better benefits that go beyond revenue and profitability.
If you’re considering using this technology, here are some of the ways you can leverage IoT to transform your business.
1. Drive Business with Real-Time Insights
Real-time data collected from business processes, devices and customers are impacting how organizations operate.
The Internet of Things plays a vital role in data generation. Businesses can integrate IoT data with other data sources to create a real-time company overview. Once they have those insights, they can translate the data into actionable solutions to everyday operational tasks. Furthermore, these insights can change your thinking by making sound business decisions each day.
The key to gaining a competitive advantage with data insights is putting it to effective use. Once you figure out how to acquire these innovations into your business models, this will help accomplish more company goals.
2. Create Effective Marketing Campaigns
As a small business, IoT allows you to ingest, process, visualize and respond to large chunks of various data. In turn, they can ultimately build strategies to meet customers’ needs in the process.
For example, internet-connected devices can obtain a comprehensive overview of customers’ preferences and build strategic campaigns to drive revenue. Moreover, IoT helps segment customer bases and open them up to cross-selling or upselling.
For instance, QR labels on products allow customers to scan them using their smartphones. This feature guides customers to related products, discounts, in-store experiences and even engaging product trivia.
3. Track and Manage Inventory
Many small businesses can face difficulty with tracking and managing their inventory. With that in mind, companies can lose a significant amount of money due to a loss of assets. Additionally, businesses miss out on time when workers are constantly engaged in solving inventory issues.
Businesses can manage their inventory with IoT applications, granting automated inventory control. Likewise, tracking products in the supply chain with IoT can help track which items have gone missing and are in transit.
Installing IoT devices and software in warehouses can make inventory management seamless. Furthermore, surveillance systems with IoT can prevent theft before it occurs.
4. Formulate New Lines of Business
With the help of IoT, companies can develop a product and monitor performance through the algorithm of the IoT platform. This technology carries a new path of innovation for businesses since the data is transferable across the organization’s ecosystem. With this unique ability, you would have the opportunity to develop continuous engagement and add on high-value services.
For example, companies can avoid losing customers when there is an issue with their products. By doing so, they can install a digital sensor reporting how well the product is performing. If the product is about to receive downtime, the company can alert the customer and send a diagnostic tool before it breaks.
5. Provide an Omnichannel Customer Experience
In today’s world of customer service, it’s highly fundamental to streamline the shopping experience with an omnichannel approach. IoT is the leading role when facilitating this service. It can improve the user experience by incorporating sensors on interconnected devices. Then organizations supervise operations, status and service levels from remote locations to offer support and meet customer needs. Overall, companies can personalize customer shopping experiences like never before.
For example, smart shelves connect to Kroger’s grocery store app using Microsoft Azure AI. With this technology, the grocery store processes data — offering customers a guided shopping experience — with automated identification of items in the app and displaying pricing, promotional and dietary information.
6. Offer Faster Delivery and Order Processing
Customers today expect faster delivery. So most business partners, such as logistics companies, use IoT technology solutions to ensure prompt deliveries. However, more rapid delivery isn’t the only thing companies can provide with IoT. This technology can assure higher levels of efficiency and productivity with better information.
Additionally, IoT support can employ automation and real-time response on operational efficiency. With these innovations in mind, this will reduce costs and expand the landscape for enhanced manufacturing.
7. Improve Customer Satisfaction
When customers aren’t satisfied with your product or service, this can lead to negative feedback — and eventually a decline in your revenue.
The most feasible solution would be to build your product with the Internet of Things. By doing so, IoT provides your support team with enhanced tools for monitoring customer problems. As a result, this solution allows your company to address and resolve issues more effectively.
Additionally, chatbots help with customer satisfaction by providing a top-notch customer service experience. Chatbots can spot issues with any product or service and improve them through synthesized data. With AI and IoT integration, customer relation managers can receive viable data to offer custom solutions. Therefore, customers can use products better, and satisfaction goes way up.
8. Reduce Utility Costs
Many ways homeowners lower monthly costs can be equivalent for a business environment. For instance, implementing light and temperature controls can help reduce energy consumption and save on costs. IoT devices control appliances, machinery and equipment — automatically turning them off when not in use.
9. Lower Business Expenses
IoT robotic devices can replace certain facets of your business and reduce paid expenses. For example, custodial staff can be quite expensive to bring in every week and clean the office. However, robotic vacuum cleaners can maintain cleanliness and reduce custodial maintenance costs. With IoT robotic vacuum cleaners, they can tell you when it’s time to empty them. And you cut down the custodial time by bringing them in for a deep cleaning once a month.
Things to Consider with IoT in Business
When incorporating IoT technology into your business, you should address a few things to help facilitate the integration of this technology. Consider hiring an IoT consultant to partner with your IT team. They can help address certain business needs and objectives.
Secondly, you won’t need to assume that you should start to lay off workers when machines take over. Instead, IoT can enable team productivity and allow employees to focus on other tasks.
Lastly, IoT devices are connected to networks full of sensitive data, making them vulnerable to cyberattacks. Business owners must understand these vulnerabilities and work with a security specialist to prevent future threats.