You’ve heard the phrase Internet of Things (IoT), and how it’s going to revolutionise how people use data and smart devices, but what can it actually do for your business? IoT merges the digital world with human culture, continuing the connectedness of our everyday lives by integrating the objects we use each day with measurable, digital data. It’s claimed that by 2020, up to 100 billion devices will be connected to the internet.
Let’s look at an early example of this. You might not know the first IoT device was a Coca-Cola machine. It was created in collaboration with IBM, and the network connected line of soda dispensers could do inventory control and reordering, and event change the prices of soda on a hot day. Pretty good stuff for both retailers and consumers. On a cold day, consumers got a deal on a Coke, on a hot day, retailers were able to get increased value in exchange for increased perceived value of a cold Coke on a very hot day.
Connect the dots to today’s very connected world and you’ll see the possibilities are limitless. If you can get to grips with IoT, you can reach a vast audience that will only continue to grow. Ultimately, using IoT to your business’s advantage means you can work smarter, faster, and remain more connected than has ever been possible before.
Achieving efficiency: IoT technology that sees before you do
Perhaps one of the most exciting benefits of IoT is the efficiency it can bring both to your business, and the wider world around you. Many IoT devices are built with saving in mind - so whether it’s the smart meter at home letting you know how much energy you’re using, the heating in your office building switching off when the temperature gets warmer or the traffic light sensors making your commute that little bit quicker, IoT is quickly becoming an incredibly useful tool to help you navigate a less costly and more efficient life. Technology can make decisions much more quickly than you can, meaning with IoT, your IT systems drive your business; if you can automate the everyday tasks, you can free up time to spend on more important things.
Productivity: Keeping your workforce happy
As trends like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) begin to play a bigger role in the business world, the ability to use multiple devices in your IoT strategy can bring value and efficiency to your organisation. Whereas in traditional office environments your team would be tied to their desks, or only devices the company pays for, IoT allows a much more flexible working day to take place. Additionally, the inter-connectivity of IoT means each individual can work from whichever device they feel suits them best. In this way, IoT can enhance your teams’ contentment and communication as well as their productivity, all while allowing the office to run more smoothly.
Delivery: Offering the ultimate customer service
More and more businesses have now begun to use IoT as a form of marketing, both to increase their sales and the speed with which they reach their customers. The predictive nature of IoT means you can begin to anticipate customer needs, even before they know themselves. In the past, customer service has been associated with long wait times at call centres and crossed wires - now, IoT allows your customer service to become as streamlined and effective as your business’s processes. If you are connected to your customers through their devices, they can serve themselves in many cases, increasing satisfaction and decreasing negative feedback. This ultimately means that IoT can help you stay ahead of your competitors by delivering the best possible customer experience, with the latest technologies and devices at your fingertips.
Staying Aware: The downsides of IoT’s constant connectivity
As well as the benefits IoT can offer your business, this new trend is also leading to technology enhanced homes and even smart cities, changing the way we live together. Of course, with every emerging trend that promises such big changes, there are downsides, and IoT is no exception to the rule. The extent of dependency on automation that IoT brings into our everyday lives has raised concerns about the lack of need for human interaction, meaning uncertainty around job security - it’s much cheaper and easier for businesses to “hire” an IoT programmed machine to get the job done than a person, which may mean that certain jobs eventually become outdated or redundant.
Perhaps the most important thing to be aware of when you embrace IoT is the many technologies that will frequently have access to your data. When the internet is connected to multiple IoT devices both around the office and in our homes, it can be difficult to remain confident in your privacy, and to know who is paying attention to the data you’re producing. The nature of IoT means it is collecting your data all the time; while this means it can make your life easier by predicting what you need, it also brings into question how much access to your personal life hackers could potentially gain. As you innovate and lead your market by adopting IoT solutions, you will want to hold on to the lead it gives you over your competitors. With a data security strategy that covers all bases by growing as the understanding of this new trend does, the multiple benefits of IoT can be safely had.
We believe emerging internet trends work best when they can be tailored to your business’s advantage. At CIS, personalised support goes hand in hand with an expert understanding of trends like IoT, so you can be certain that your IT infrastructure works hard to benefit your business. We seek to help you mitigate risks, and accentuate your strengths. Contact us for strategies that are always ahead of the game.