When people talk about the growth of technology in business, no small part of that is what the Internet of Things makes possible. From cost control, to automated scheduling, to helping build operational efficiency, the IoT can present a lot of interesting benefits for a business if you strategically implement systems designed to use the data created by smart devices. Let’s take a look at some of the ways IoT works for small businesses.
The most important part of a business that has an IoT strategy has to be how it manages the smartphones and other wearable devices that employees bring onto the network or use to access business network resources remotely. Many businesses have begun to try and leverage the benefits of mobile computing, but for the smaller business, it can be a challenge to get the most out of what it offers. However, as the IoT develops, it will likely become more and more accessible—and more the norm—for technology to incorporate mobility.
Inventory management is, in a word, a pain for businesses. Not only can it be time consuming, but any mistake can easily create severe disruption to your operations. It’s hard to sell widgets if you don’t have any to sell. It’s hard to make widgets if you don’t have the materials they require. Fortunately, the IoT offers a means of tracking and maintaining inventory that improves the efficiency of these processes immensely, which will more than likely be adopted by more businesses of all sizes.
Which would you rather your team spend the majority of their time doing, crunching numbers and taking records, or actively producing and generating profits? With the introduction of the IoT, the latter can become more of the norm. We’ve all seen the automated chatbots that businesses are using to start customer interactions on their websites—this is just one example of how automation can help improve how time is spent in the office, and how job responsibilities will likely change.
Again, calling back to customer service chatbots, the Internet of Things can directly assist with a business’ customer experience and relationship management. Using the IoT to track trends and business patterns of all scales will allow businesses to better understand and serve the needs and wants of their target audience. On a related note, the IoT can be used to help you manage their expectations. Let’s say there’s an issue with the interface they use to connect with you, or with the product/service you offer. The IoT could possibly give you the heads up and provide the opportunity to proactively address the problem before they start reaching out to you directly.
Again, the ties between the IoT and your business’ data cannot be overstated, either in their prevalence or their importance. Businesses have a truly unprecedented amount of data to contend with—even the small and medium-sized businesses of the world—regarding the products and services they offer, the feedback and interactions they receive from their customers, and their internal processes. Using the IoT can give context to seemingly unrelated data points, helping businesses to identify correlated pieces of information and devise a strategy to take better advantage of them.
Keep in mind, today’s businesses are already using the IoT to accomplish much of this, and more on top of that. Time will only tell where the IoT takes us in the future.
In the meantime, we’ll be here to help you manage all of your business’ technology needs, including the Internet of Things and beyond. Give us a call at (415) 246-0101 to learn more about our managed IT services and support options.