The Rising Impact of IoT On Small Business Development

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of today’s hottest business topics – whether you own a small or medium-sized company, you’ll need to understand it sooner rather than later. And while the concept may appear unnecessarily complicated and somewhat ambiguous at first, it becomes easier to understand and learn once broken down into a few fundamental elements.


Friedemann Mattern and Christian Floerkemeie, renowned computer science scholars, defined IoT as a notion in which the Internet advances into the real world, embracing everyday objects which are very factual and relevant. However, the potential of IoT expands when the data captured by sensors is understood and used to invent new ideas, thoughts, services, and products – leading to new business opportunities and models for organisations.


One of the most significant but often undervalued benefits of IoT is the creation of data, which can be used in various ways. At first glimpse, this may not seem quite useful for small businesses, but a closer examination tells otherwise. To give an insight into what is being produced, market research firm IDC predicts that by 2025, the total volume of data and content produced will be 175 zettabytes. The amount of stored data is expected to decrease as artificial intelligence and machine learning advance. After all, going through every data piece without AI is impossible and unnecessary.


This year’s developments may prove crucial in determining how IoT will grow in the coming decade and whether the estimated value of the global IoT market of around 1.6 trillion by 2025 makes any sense. Rob Mesirow, leader of PwC Connected Solutions, believes this year will be a watershed moment for IoT. This very well could be the case. However, despite IoT’s euphoria, it is important to remember that there are still obstacles to overcome before adoption rates can increase. The most obvious problem here is the lack of a unified IoT framework – a shared central platform. Some believe blockchain is the solution to this problem, but this is not the case.


How Does the Internet of Things Help Small Businesses Grow?


IoT data can help small businesses better understand their organisation and their customers. As author Aliff Azhar stated in an article for IoT Magazine, businesses use real-time data to make forecasts, predict future outcomes, and avoid operational errors. Although data can be useful, it only becomes useful when identified and managed. Handling the quantity of data generated by IoT devices and determining quality is difficult. Another challenge small, medium, and large businesses face is understanding what can be accomplished by adopting and utilising IoT technologies and services. Implementing IoT solutions, services, sensors, and apps can be costly, as can putting IoT solutions, services, sensors, and apps in place. A lack of adequate skills across the workforce can also hinder or limit IoT adoption.


There is an increasing number of testimonials demonstrating the successful implementation of IoT in small and medium-sized businesses. Some factors responsible for this trend include: chips and sensors becoming more affordable, wireless connections becoming faster, better IoT services have become available, and the skills gap gradually closing.


The Internet of Things can help such businesses develop and grow by doing the following:


  • Enhanced efficiency
  • Increased security
  • Improved client relationships
  • Cost savings
  • Streamlined processes
  • Greater transparency
  • Optimized logistics
  • Scalability
  • Development of new product offerings.


Regarding the final point, businesses should consider IoT devices and services that can help develop new products and offerings. However, this can be difficult for businesses because the answer is not always clear. So, do keep the following questions in mind:

  1. What data can we collect using various IoT devices?
  2. What can we learn from this data (assuming we can structure, understand, and analyse it into new levels of information)?


How Are Small Businesses Leveraging IoT to Grow?


The use of IoT varies by sector and opportunity. Consumer electronics, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, energy, and financial services are common examples of potential areas for IoT exploitation. On the other hand, nowadays, small and medium-sized businesses can examine the possibilities presented by IoT and leverage it to grow big and better. 

 Here are a few real-world examples.


Mobile Card Payment Reader 

Small businesses have adapted to cashless societies with little investment. Today, all required to process transactions is a mobile card reader and so-called mobile point-of-sale systems (mPOS) that run on smartphones or tablets. In addition, devices that accept chip cards and contactless payments are available. So, It will be intriguing to watch how IoT sensors and applications evolve into the cashless payments ecosystem over the next few years.


Smart Locks

The solution to avoid hiring security guards and being concerned about security is one of the most appealing features of smart locks. Business owners can control access from the comfort of their homes thanks to an easy installation process. Many smart locks are compatible with Alexa, HomeKit, Nest, and Google Assistant. There are numerous options available these days, with more or less sophisticated models allowing for features such as assigning special privileges, voice activation, tamper alarm, touchpad, guest access, and geofencing.


Connected Cameras

Security cameras have been used for years and are constantly becoming more compelling and less expensive, especially when used with smart locks. Connected cameras enable business owners to remotely monitor offices, warehouses, entrances, and other areas. Unlike expensive and large servers or other storage devices, footage can be saved – often indefinitely – in the cloud. Because connected cameras use Wi-Fi, they don’t require cables and can be placed anywhere as long as they have power. However, they require a reliable wireless internet connection because they rely on Wi-Fi rather than cables. Their ease of installation is one of the factors that has made technology implementation so affordable.


HVAC and Lights Monitoring Technology

Many people consider remote control of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) to be an unnecessary luxury. However, with IoT technologies, cloud-based services, and advancements in AI and machine learning, HVAC management at the sensor level that provides big data type analysis and intelligent, real-time decision-making is being advanced.


Beginning the IoT Transformation 

The Internet of Things radically alters how we interact with the physical world. And, of course, as it changes what is possible, it will change how we do business. So, embracing the change and leveraging IoT Services is the new and effortless way to thrive, stay updated and to remain at the top of the game.


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