7 benefits of IoT for your business
These days, Internet of Things (IoT) technology is all around us, even where we least expect it — from healthcare to retail to agriculture and everything in between. The applications are endless, and help businesses provide better, more innovative services, like remote healthcare and more effective fleet management.
With so many applications across dozens of verticals, it’s not surprising to learn that the IoT market is expected to be worth $2,465.26 billion by 2029, a growth rate of 26.4%.
In this piece, we’ll take a look at seven benefits that your business can enjoy by harnessing the power of IoT.
What is IoT?
The Internet of Things is a network of real things, like your TV and laptop, connected through sensors, software, and other technology. They speak directly to each other and exchange information using the internet. Even better, there’s no need to buy extra equipment to figure out what's going on.
IoT usage is expected to reach 27 billion units by the year 2025. That’s sensors embedded within delivery trucks, medical devices, and even cooking utensils. That’s an unending stream of real-time data going back and forth 24/7. Companies like Verizon have gone all in on IoT, looking to provide solutions that change the way people and businesses operate on a fundamental level.
The following features play an essential role in defining IoT.
- Automation: Facilitating communications between separate devices and components without human intervention.
- Connectivity: Creating optimal connections within one network on a wide scale makes information access easier.
Why IoT has grown
The concept of IoT has existed for quite a while. So why have initiatives and business models based on it become so prevalent over the past 10 years?
For starters, things got a lot cheaper. IoT sensors use internet connectivity to reach the cloud and transfer data back and forth. When the cost of sensors fell dramatically, it meant that companies could afford to incorporate them into various devices without worrying about going bankrupt.
More manufacturers making IoT products led to greater consumption as consumers became enthralled with the idea of building a smart home straight out of the Jetsons. Similarly, IoT technology made its way into business operations, as companies began to discover its benefits: namely, optimizing and improving operations and presenting an easier path to growth.
Other factors contributing to the expansion of IoT-based devices with cellular connectivity include:
- An increase in cloud platform availability
- Advancement and expansion of cellular networks
- Expansion of the use of machine learning (ML) and analytics)
- Advances in conversational artificial intelligence (AI)
We’ve already touched on the impacts of the application of IoT in everyday life using smartphones, wearables, and smart household appliances. But how can it make your job easier? Isn’t that what’s important?
Examples of IoT use by companies
- Navigational equipment installed in cars
- Tracking ships bringing in goods from other countries
- Keeping up with wear and tear on farming equipment
- Figuring out the best routes for supply chains
What is the role of IoT in the business world?
Anything capable of connecting to the internet has the potential to make your life better. Industries like healthcare, education, and manufacturing are figuring out different ways to leverage IoT devices in ways that make things run smoother.
They turn what seems like incomprehensible mounds of digitized data collected from everywhere into a potential goldmine for businesses. IoT can also store, secure, and pass data around efficiently. Even better, there’s no need to dread filling out a request to purchase a lot of expensive hardware to support IoT.
The technology melds with the cloud and cellular networks in perfect harmony. IoT creates a bridge to help potential clients find your products and services anywhere in the world. Companies can also build a smart office for employees, making it easier for them to do their jobs wherever they have cellular connectivity and streamline various business operations.
- Intelligent access: Thanks to IoT, companies can provide workers with connected devices with a unique address that identifies who’s walking in or out of the building. Building security can ensure employee safety by triggering alerts throughout the building whenever they notice anything suspicious.
- Smart offices: Smart scanners, printers, and other equipment improve day-to-day operations. Workers can use Wi-Fi scanners to create a duplicate of a document, then send it to other workstations, tablets, or other work devices. Companies can also install sensors that control temperature, lighting, and other indoor fixtures to make workers more comfortable.
- Improved collaboration: IoT allows organizations to create a hybrid workplace that better fits the lifestyle of workers. You can set up advanced technology that goes beyond standard video conferencing calls. Many companies use IoT solutions to give users a more impactful virtual presence. Supervisors can connect with field team members on the work site, tour facilities, and oversee the testing of products from a remote location.
Governments and municipalities use IoT for everything from traffic management to smart grids. They collect real-time data through environmental monitoring, helping city leaders understand what impacts citizens. The information collected informs decision-making on building smart cities that improve residents’ lives. Really — we’re serious!
Benefits of IoT
IoT data collection helps companies discover new business opportunities, optimize business processes, and create better customer experiences. Many have likened the rise of IoT to a new industrial revolution. There is a real sense of invigoration that comes with businesses, especially smaller ones, gaining the ability to punch above their weight class and compete with larger companies.
1) Cost savings
In the past, dealing with equipment usually worked in the following manner. Something breaks, and an employee complains. A ticket is submitted to maintenance in hopes they fix the problem quickly — but in the meantime, the equipment is unusable. That lost time leads to lost productivity, and that translates to lost money.
IoT transforms how businesses maintain everything from office buildings to manufacturing floors. You can detect when lightbulbs are about to go or immediately find out the stock levels of critical supplies. If something’s off, the right people get a notification to address the issue before it becomes a major problem.
Predictive maintenance helps reduce unscheduled downtime that leads to higher business costs. Replacing parts at the right time keeps businesses from dealing with a catastrophic failure. IoT helps operations diagnose problems accurately and implement solutions quickly.
2) Increased productivity through automation
Wi-Fi-connected sensor networks help drive efficiency for any industry. The agricultural sector now uses drones to automatically monitor crop health, control pests, and plant seeds. That cuts down on the amount of physical labor required from workers and the length of time equipment needs to remain in use.
One of the most significant advantages of IoT in business automation is that it lets companies stay up and running longer. Instead of hiring more workers to work more shifts, you can set up automated agents that respond to after-hour inquiries from customers or handle e-commerce orders.
IoT also helps boost productivity for knowledge workers, like those who work in marketing and engineering and rely heavily on collaboration. IoT moves beyond the constraints of traditional conferencing tools and encourages more tangible exchanges of information when working on projects.
3) Superior operations and supply chain management
One of the great things about IoT is the low cost of acquiring devices. You can connect them to device networks using the internet for efficient data transfer. From there, AI kicks in and translates the information. You see this happening a lot in manufacturing and other supply chain operations.
Thanks to IoT sensors, warehouse managers no longer need to deal with informational black holes around what’s happening on the floor. They track product movement, material use, and other warehouse assets with wireless and cellular connectivity — ensuring connectivity throughout the entire warehouse, even in areas outside Wi-Fi range.
Managers can deploy sensors on shelves and set them to transmit real-time data to a management system. They get a clearer line of sight on what’s happening, letting them cut down on time-wasting mistakes and curb operational expenses.
4) Accessibility from anywhere
The more equipment businesses connect, the more information gets passed through data streams into the cloud. You can eliminate saving data in spreadsheets saved on a single workstation that constantly crashes.
You can make that happen using IoT. All the data sent from connected IoT devices immediately becomes accessible to those who need it from the cloud, including the analyst whose boss told them they need a report in a couple of hours.
It’s not just business users who benefit from accessible data. Customers can log into an e-commerce account and see recent product updates as soon as they hit the system. Businesses can improve customer service by letting buyers track packages from the time the items leave a warehouse until the moment they end up at the customer’s front door. (No one wants ice cream delivered from the grocery store when they’re halfway across town.)
5) Remote monitoring
If you’re managing a construction project, it’s essential that you know where your equipment is at all times. It’s not a good look if a cement mixing truck suddenly goes missing when you’re ready to start a sidewalk project.
You can avoid that by adding IoT sensors to your equipment to enable real-time remote monitoring. That way, you can quickly determine if your driver got stuck in traffic on the way to the site.
Another example of IoT remote monitoring use is cable providers placing IoT sensors to help them detect potential broadband issues before they start affecting a lot of customers. Early warning of a possible crash gives managers time to send an engineer to fix the problem, hopefully avoiding widespread service disruptions.
Companies can become proactive in addressing customer concerns instead of reactive, relieving the burden placed on customer service reps. Engineers and other maintenance personnel receive critical information to diagnose problems faster and repair affected components.
6) Improved customer service experience and satisfaction
While many people have turned to e-shopping for convenience, many still prefer going into stores and exploring product selections in person. Store managers can add beacons that create heat map visualizations tracking customer movements. Those patterns tell you which areas attract the most traffic, making them ideal spots for displaying popular products and creating a more satisfying in-store experience for customers.
You can connect consumer purchases made in brick-and-mortar stores to online purchases and use them to influence recommendations.
7) Fresh business opportunities
We’re in an age where smartwatches can become life-saving devices under the right circumstances. What’s crazy is that there’s so much potential for IoT that still hasn’t been realized. Imagine having a wearable device that automatically lets doctors know about the effects of changes in medication.
There’s no limit to the kind of information businesses can collect using IoT software. Placing sensors within cars helps automobile insurers track driver habits and provide optimal rates to customers. Connecting products and services through IoT helps businesses expand the delivery of products to a broader consumer base. The potential for ongoing growth is why companies have adopted IoT technology.
Keep your business, customers, and devices connected with Hologram
You don’t have to remain stuck in outdated, unproductive processes holding your company back. Industries like agriculture, manufacturing, and e-commerce have already realized IoT benefits. Adding smart devices to your workflows can fundamentally change your business operations for the better by showing you different ways of deploying IoT solutions. In the end, IoT solutions are only as good if they are connected.
Hologram can guide you through shifting your company culture to one that’s future-facing. Learn how we can help your company establish the perfect IoT connectivity solution using our Hologram SIM cards.