[This article was written by Eric Gordon.]
Technological innovations are being introduced rapidly, and your small business must keep up with the current trends to remain as competitive and as profitable as possible.
However, staying up-to-date with all the new technological breakthroughs can be challenging. To take full advantage of new technology, you must understand what innovations are and how they may benefit your business.
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is quickly transforming the way people live and work. With a closer look at how IoT can improve your small business, you may be eager to implement these technologies in your workplace.
Understanding the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is a broad, all-encompassing term that describes all devices connected to the Internet. While you may assume that it applies to smartphones, tablets, laptops and other similar devices, it spans far beyond this today.
For example, there are now numerous sensors, tracking devices and other equipment that connect to the Internet and that can feed you real-time data. Your car may be connected to the Internet of Things through features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or a navigation system.
As you get to know more about the Internet of Things, you will discover that it has many beneficial applications for small business owners to take advantage of.
Because IoT has the ability to dramatically improve operations, productivity and more, you can see that business owners must effectively use this technology in order to compete in the marketplace going forward.
Here are only a few of the many ways that the Internet of Things may be used in your small business.
1. Improving Your Workplace
Many aspects of your work environment may be connected to the Internet. For example, your security system and surveillance cameras may be remotely monitored via an app on your smartphone. Your office’s thermostat may be controlled from any location as well. Everything from the locks on the doors to the angle of the blinds can be adjusted.
Through these features you may improve the security and functionality of your workplace, while also saving money on energy costs.
2. Transforming Collaboration
Teamwork, group projects and interactive collaboration are critical in almost any workplace. Excellent collaboration may be based on the ease of communication, file sharing, exchanging ideas and more.
The Internet of Things facilitates this. For example, there are numerous collaboration tools that allow you and your team members to jot down ideas together on a virtual whiteboard and to access files in real-time from a single location. There are even applications that translate written text and verbal communication into different languages almost immediately.
Collaboration may be necessary within a single office or with teams across the country or around the world. The Internet of Things has dramatically improved collaboration regardless of where your employees are located.
3. Enabling Remote Work Activities
As a small business owner, you may need to expand your workforce without physically expanding into a larger office. A larger office, after all, may unnecessarily increase overhead.
Remote work activities are increasingly common, and one reason for this is because of advances through the Internet of Things. Remote work activities may include file sharing, communication and more.
Monitoring remote workers is also facilitated through the Internet of Things. For example, online time clocks, chat programs, customer relationship management programs and more all may be used interactively by you and your remote workers. You may also use these and other programs to keep track of what your remote workers are doing throughout the day.
4. Bolstering Productivity
It’s all about improving productivity. If you run a company that requires your team to regularly check on the status of devices, products or equipment at your clients’ physical locations, you may be able to use IoT technology to monitor those machines remotely.
It’s a good idea to analyze your business’s operations and processes and look for ways that connectedness may improve in these areas.
While the Internet of Things is often viewed as being most relevant in personal lives, you can see that it has numerous applications in the business environment. IoT technology may be affordable for small businesses to implement, and it may even be essential in order to remain profitable and productive going forward.
Eric Gordon is an independent business development and marketing specialist for SMEs. He loves sharing his insights and experience to assist business owners in growing their revenues. You can find Eric on Twitter @ericdavidgordon