Automation makes work faster and easier, helping businesses save time and resources. One of the most powerful ways to deploy automation is to use the game-changing innovation called the Internet of Things (IoT).
Introducing IoT into a company can take business automation to a whole new level. IoT connects everyday devices to the internet, and small organizations can implement it into virtually every aspect of their business.
When using this technology strategically, IoT makes business automation more efficient. However, why is IoT such a must-have in various industries like health care, manufacturing and transportation?
In this article, we will explain what IoT is all about, and why it matters. Companies with a deeper understanding of this revolutionary Internet technology can learn how to use it effectively to make operations smoother and incur more revenue.
What is IoT and Why Does It Matter?
We start with a definition of IoT to understand why it matters.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of everyday objects — like appliances, vehicles, and industrial equipment — connected to the internet. It empowers these objects to send and receive data, making them smarter and more responsive. IoT extends internet connectivity beyond traditional devices such as computers and smartphones to a wide range of everyday items.
Why does IoT matter in the world today? There are three main reasons to consider here:
- Efficiency and Convenience: IoT automates and enhances daily tasks. For example, smart homes can control lighting and heating automatically.
- Data Collection and Analysis: It provides valuable data insights to improve operations and customer experiences.
- Innovation: IoT drives advancements in various sectors, including healthcare and transportation, leading to smarter cities and better lifestyles.
Now let’s look at some of the cutting-edge applications of this technology.
1. Collects and Transmits Data in Real-Time
One of the biggest reasons IoT is game-changing for business automation is that it can provide real-time insights. Small businesses can get instant updates on everything, such as how much stock they have.
Business leaders are already seeing this innovation implemented across sectors, including retail. For instance, retailers use smart shelves to optimize inventory management.
These smart shelves have sensors known as RFID tags, which constantly monitor stock levels. Small businesses can get an alert when inventory is low and automatically order more items to prevent out-of-stock issues. With real-time data, businesses make faster, smarter decisions, ensuring they are always ready to act.
2. Enables Devices to Communicate and Trigger Actions
Another key advantage of IoT in business automation is that it enables devices to stay in touch and trigger actions automatically. This inter-device communication creates a network of smart devices that work together seamlessly.
For example, an IoT-enabled air conditioning system can communicate with window sensors. If the sensors detect an open window, they can signal the A/C to turn off. This helps small businesses save on energy costs, allowing them to allocate more money toward other parts of their organization.
Another example is smart desks. These offer ideal workstations for workers. Smart desks can learn how to adapt to personal preferences so individuals feel more comfortable and productive.
With devices being able to talk to each other and take action without human intervention, companies reduce waste and improve efficiency.
3. IoT Optimizes Asset Use and Equipment Maintenance
More companies are increasing their investments in IoT because of the way it enhances how they use and maintain their equipment. By embedding sensors and smart devices, companies can track equipment performance and condition in real-time.
These use cases are common in manufacturing. Manufacturers can use IoT devices to predict when machines need maintenance before they break down. This approach prevents costly downtime and extends the life of all items.
Another industry that utilizes IoT is logistics. Smart devices monitor the condition of vehicles and can optimize routes to ensure efficient use of these resources. This level of optimization allows companies to save money on repairs or replacements and ensure each piece of equipment is used effectively.
4. Deliver Better Customer Experiences
Customer experiences are a key aspect of business success. Companies rely on customer acquisition and retention to keep operations running daily.
By integrating IoT, businesses can offer more personalized and efficient services. In a retail store, IoT can track customer behavior and preferences. This lets the store offer tailored recommendations and promotions directly to their smartphones.
In hospitality, smart rooms can adjust lighting, temperature, and entertainment based on hotel guests’ preferences. Such technologies not only help to improve the overall ambience of an environment — they also help to reduce energy consumption.
For service-based industries, companies can achieve faster response times by monitoring their service levels from anywhere. As such, they offer quicker support, provide more delightful experiences, and foster customer loyalty.
To cap it off, approximately 95% of consumers even stated they would keep buying from businesses that help customers feel valued.
5. IoT Helps With Business Automation Through Workplace Safety and Security
Another viral role that IoT plays is in worker safety and security. IoT devices like cameras and sensors allow companies to monitor their environments and ensure a safer work environment.
For example, these sensors can detect hazardous conditions like gas leaks or extreme temperatures. Smart devices that sense harmful environments will also trigger alerts for immediate action. This is extremely important not only for fire-fighters and healthcare workers, but those in dangerous industrial environments like power plants, or chemical manufacturing facilities.
When maintaining security, IoT will control building access, track movements, and detect unusual activities for theft and unauthorized access prevention. In industries where worker safety is a priority, wearables can monitor health indicators and alert workers of potential dangers. With a hyper-focus on safety and security, companies can keep a stable and more productive workforce.
Boost Business Automation With IoT-Technology
Investing in the latest technology is one of the best ways to push boundaries. When incorporating IoT into business automation, the key is to start small. Prevent disruption by implementing it into one operational aspect. Companies that gradually integrate IoT solutions can eventually boost efficiency and improve customer satisfaction. How companies use their technology will place them on the path to success.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.