What Can IoT Do For Your Business?
It’s been a good while since we focused on the Internet of Things (IoT) here on our blog, and in that time the field has made some incredible progress. There are now some 21.5 billion IoT devices in the world, with IDC predicting an annual growth rate of 11.3% for the sector until at least 2024, and Statista forecasting market revenue from IoT to hit $1.6 trillion (around £1.35 trillion) by 2025.
Those numbers make IoT a major consideration when crafting technical solutions for enterprises, and at DCSL GuideSmiths we’re always interested in how growing technologies can benefit our clients. With that in mind, here we look at six ways IoT can transform your business.
What are the benefits of IoT in business?
IoT devices take advantage of web connections to deliver potentially game-changing results for companies. From better understanding your customers to making operations more efficient and adding extra layers of security, these are just some of the ways IoT can transform your business.
1. Deeper data-driven insights
In a data-driven world, the companies that understand customer behaviour best are the ones best placed to offer the kinds of products, promotions and services those customers crave. One good example is the way telematics boxes are currently changing the car insurance industry by allowing car owners access to lower premiums by tracking their driving behaviour and proving them to be safe drivers. Another good example is how shop operations teams can use IoT technology to track customer behaviour and plan inventory levels accordingly. In the future, it could even see wearable tech enable gym-goers to enjoy tailored workout programmes.
Those are just three ways IoT can help your business when it comes to data gathering. What kind of data could your business gather from IoT devices, and what might you do with it?
2. Reduced costs and less downtime
With deeper insights from data also comes the ability to make strategic decisions about operational areas like staffing levels and maintenance cycles. For instance, industrial companies can use IoT-powered digital twin technology to create accurate digital representations of their physical systems to get an insight into when even the smallest components in their machinery might fail. This can allow them to get ahead of the curve on replacing problem parts and minimise potential disruptions to both productivity and profit margins.
If you work in the industrial sector, that accurately shows the importance of IoT for your business. However, it doesn’t take much imagination to consider how data-driven fault detection could benefit other sectors and services, from racing teams to emergency services.
3. Enhanced asset tracking
Another IoT application that can help your business comes in the form of being able to track physical assets. This can help hugely in reducing losses from lost and stolen stock. Fleet-based businesses, for instance, can be especially susceptible to these kinds of losses, which can total millions for some depending on the size of the business. In fact, any business with a significantly complex supply chain can run into these kinds of problems, but by tracking shipments in real-time, it’s possible to alleviate those losses and keep that money in your business. It can also help fleet operators themselves to see where their delivery vehicles are, along with the routes their drivers are taking. That can give them the data to deliver better route planning and driver training courses should they discover the need to.
4. Improved customer experience
The upshot of IoT technology giving businesses more insights, less downtime and more ability to track loss and optimise supply chains, is that they’re also able to spend time, money and effort on delivering a better experience to end users.
Being at the forefront of digital transformation, the retail industry is currently one of the industries doing this best. For instance, in our blog on digital transformation in retail, we discussed how retailers were offering omnichannel experiences with IoT devices like smartphones powering many of people’s interactions. We also looked at how the London Amazon Fresh store is showing shoppers in London a new, web-enabled way to purchase in physical stores without even needing to go through a checkout.
Those are just two examples of what IoT can do for your business. The only question is, what kind of business do you have, and how can you use a combination of digital services and web-based physical products to improve your customer offering?
5. Boosted security
IoT doesn’t just make businesses smarter, more efficient and more customer-friendly – it can also make them considerably more secure. Consider the example of physical security systems. A simple camera and alarm system might be the basic security coverage you’d expect for most businesses, but with IoT technology it’s perfectly conceivable that enterprises might place sensors at their premises that can automatically send security cameras a signal when they detect unusual activity. This ability to add an extra layer of protection to your company’s property and assets is just another example of the importance of IoT for your business.
6. Automated working processes
Our sixth and final example of the many ways IoT can help your business is that it can literally allow your business to run on autopilot – at least some of the time. This can be true of a retailer’s warehouse sending a ping to the stock order system when numbers run low of a particularly hot item. It could also be wise in a food processing plant, where using the right combination of IoT hardware and software could help automate not only the picking and packing process, but also the cooling or heating of certain foodstuffs when they reach a temperature outside their optimum storage conditions. Wherever a business has efficiency gains to be made, the chances are that IoT might offer an attractive option – if not now, then in the very near future.
How can IoT improve your business?
At DCSL GuideSmiths we’re big exponents of using IoT intelligently and innovatively to solve complex business problems.
As one example, take a look at how we helped Intelligent Health build software that allowed 40,000 people to partake in an outside exercise game, by tracking where they were in the standings using data gathered by RFID cards and touchpoints.