IoT BENEFITS FOR BUSINESS
We’ve almost covered all Internet of Things (IoT) bases this month, such as the role of the technology in FinTech and sustainability. Last week we touched on some of the benefits for business and now we’ll delve deeper and find out more. Industry pioneers have recognised the myriad advantages that IoT offers to companies, including SMEs and startups. Studies suggest that the number of IoT devices utilised across different sectors is projected to reach an astonishing 30 billion by the year 2030. IoT enables organisations to replace antiquated manual asset tracking systems by deploying automated sensors. These sensors seamlessly link to the internet and integrate with centralised systems, facilitating real-time monitoring of crucial company assets. IoT also has significant potential to enhance customer satisfaction by providing advanced functionalities and personalised experiences. Used effectively, IoT can make the world your oyster.
AUTOMATION AND CONNECTIVITY
The concept of IoT is characterized by two fundamental features:
- Automation – IoT is centred around the concept of direct communication among various devices and hardware components, eliminating the need for human intervention. This fosters seamless connectivity and interaction between these entities.
- Connectivity – IoT promotes enhanced connectivity within a global network, providing effortless access to vast amounts of information and resources.
Key technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, and Machine Learning play pivotal roles in facilitating automation. Concurrently, cloud computing and wireless communication technologies significantly contribute to augmenting connectivity. Now, let’s take a look-see into the numerous advantages of IoT technologies and services, with a primary focus on their benefits for businesses.
IoT FOR OPTIMISING ASSETS
Through the integration of IoT into business models, UK businesses can streamline the tracking and monitoring of their assets. This could include deploying sensors in transportation vehicles and remote locations to stay abreast of evolving events. With IoT, companies gain the ability to proactively monitor the health of their equipment, ensuring optimal functionality at all times. This proactive approach enhances operational efficiency and contributes to the overall reliability of assets.
USING DATA FROM SENSORS
IoT provides companies with the capability to gather valuable insights from every facet of their business. In situations where time is of the essence or critical decisions are required, data becomes immensely valuable. A prime example of this is the transformative impact of IoT in healthcare. IoT devices offer countless opportunities for healthcare professionals to effectively monitor patients, while also empowering individuals to monitor their own health. These devices facilitate seamless data collection, remote monitoring, and real-time communication, putting a revolutionary era in healthcare practices out there. Organisations can deploy remote sensors in sensitive locations such as oil wells, connecting them directly to headquarters through cellular or mobile networks. This setup enables remote monitoring, equipment control, real-time data collection, and the development of predictive models for future forecasts.
CUSTOMERS LOVE IoT
IoT will also empower you to streamline your processes, reducing turnaround times and resource requirements for asset management. A good example is Amazon, which has harnessed IoT to elevate customer satisfaction. This includes deploying artificially intelligent robots for automating the sorting and placement of items and employing remotely controlled drones for local product shipments. While IoT technology initially impacted back-end processes due to its recent emergence, it has now completely transformed the way consumers interact with businesses, leading to a shift in front-end customer engagement strategies. Organisations now prioritise improved interaction with their audiences through IoT devices. Modern customers expect seamless engagement with businesses via smartphones, whether through automated chatbots, reliable mobile websites, or dedicated apps. Surprisingly, 40% of customers are indifferent to whether they receive assistance from a chatbot or a human, as long as their needs are met.
IoT AT EVERY ENDPOINT
Forward-thinking SMEs integrate new technology with IoT to enhance customer service. Unifying internet-connected devices and offering a seamless experience across different IoT devices has become a significant selling point for modern businesses. This prompts organizations to invest in custom apps catering to their audience on any device or endpoint. Solutions like low-code development environments empower IT leaders, with 90% stating that the flexibility and speed of these platforms improve customer experience. By leveraging IoT devices commonly found in customers’ pockets or backpacks, businesses ensure accessibility at all times. Recognizing the importance of extending key business processes to everyday IoT devices is crucial for maintaining future competitiveness. On top of everything, customers’ perception of IoT has shifted, with 30% feeling entirely comfortable with companies using IoT devices.
IoT FOR MOBILITY AND AGILITY
The rise of IoT technology has empowered businesses to embrace heightened mobility and flexibility, presenting significant advantages, particularly for SMEs. With the capability to work from any location, employees can perform their duties from diverse places, reducing dependence on expensive office leases. Consequently, there has been a notable increase in SMEs adopting “work from anywhere” arrangements and recruiting additional full-time remote employees. The implementation of IoT policies in organizations has contributed to improved business agility, with around 43% of businesses reporting enhanced operational processes. This heightened agility has become increasingly crucial, especially in the wake of the pandemic, as organizations had to establish remote work policies to adapt to new demands. Remote workers have now become an integral component of modern workforces, and this shift is anticipated to persist.
To fully leverage the advantages of IoT technology for communication across all devices, we need to prioritise robust strategies for securing these endpoints. Security considerations hold utmost importance, especially when implementing IoT beyond traditional office environments. Approximately 42% of businesses highlight challenges in managing security as a significant hurdle in the implementation of IoT. Addressing security concerns comprehensively is vital, encompassing the protection of devices used by remote workers and other IoT devices like edge devices.
While 29% of companies may initially perceive the risks of adopting IoT as outweighing the benefits, a well-established cybersecurity policy can safely and effectively integrate IoT into business operations. For organisations embracing a remote-first policy, ensuring the security of IoT devices used by employees becomes crucial to protect the business network and its data from potential cyber threats. As the evident benefits of increased mobility through IoT extend to both remote work and on-site tasks with IoT devices, it is essential to acknowledge potential vulnerabilities and the expansion of attack surfaces. Therefore, the development and implementation of a comprehensive security plan and policy for the usage of IoT devices within organizations are indispensable in today’s dynamic landscape.
COST REDUCTION AND PRODUCTIVITY BOOST
The implementation of IoT can yield significant cost reductions, especially in specific industries such as manufacturing. A study by Deloitte showed that predictive maintenance (PdM) can lead to a 20% to 50% reduction in the time needed to plan maintenance, simultaneously increasing equipment uptime and availability by 10% to 20%. In total, the implementation of PdM can reduce maintenance costs by 5% to 10%. This cost-saving potential is particularly advantageous for manufacturers. However, the benefits of IoT adoption extend to a broad spectrum of SMEs across different sectors.
One notable area of cost reduction is in labour costs through improved process efficiencies. 83% of organisations that have embraced IoT technology report enhanced efficiency, resulting in reduced expenses and improved employee output. McKinsey also highlights that activity monitoring, facilitated by IoT, can boost productivity by 10% to 12%. This means businesses derive more value from their investments, ultimately achieving a greater return on investment.
IoT solutions empower companies to expand their range of services or products, enhance their quality compared to competitors, all while maintaining competitive pricing. Alternatively, businesses can undertake more intricate tasks in terms of production difficulty, time, or quantity. At the end of the day, the adoption of smart IoT solutions will make you more competitive and appealing as a potential business partner. The widespread impact of IoT on business systems is so significant that a substantial 36% of companies are considering new directions in their business strategies as a result of their IoT initiatives. This underscores the transformative influence of IoT in reshaping how businesses operate and strategise for the future.
Companies that embrace high-tech solutions, including IoT, cultivate a positive impression among customers, investors, and business partners who recognize the myriad advantages offered by the Internet of Things. Moreover, attracting experienced and sought-after professionals becomes more accessible when a company provides a safe and secure working environment, facilitated by a network of smart devices. This commitment to cutting-edge technology not only enhances the company’s reputation but also positions it as an attractive and forward-thinking entity in the eyes of stakeholders and potential talent.
CYBERSECURITY – A MUST-HAVE FOR IoT
You can’t deny that the future looks very bright for SMEs that incorporate IoT into their processes and strategies. Izak Oosthuizen, the Founder and CEO of Zhero, says in his latest bestseller, You Don’t Need a £1 Million Cybersecurity Budget:
“SMEs are starting to buy into IoT technology. In 2021, 70% of UK small businesses were already looking into using IoT platforms to optimise operations, improve customer experience, and monitor their inventory.”
That said whether an SME is simply dripping its toe into the IoT pool, or taking the plunge, cybersecurity should be at the forefront of every decision it makes. Whatever, your cybersecurity needs and desires are, Izak is here to help. He is a London IT thought leader, entrepreneur, and cybersecurity expert, who, with 25 years of experience under his belt, has IT security in his blood and bones. Whatever your plans are for IoT, Izak will have your back covered with his cybersecurity expertise. Reach out to him today.