on 08 April, 2019
The internet-of-things (IoT) is a relatively new technological development, but already, it’s reshaping how businesses operate. Whether you’re interested in the topic as an avid technologist, as a business owner looking to become more competitive, or as a consumer wondering how you can take advantage of these developments, it pays to know more about how IoT is developing.
How IoT Is Reshaping Businesses
These are some of the most influential changes that are currently unfolding:
1. New standards for facility management
Facility managers now have new standards to follow, thanks in part to IoT technologies. Some of these include improved communications about processes and requirements, improved consistency of service, and improved productivity, safety, and wellbeing for the workforce. While the industry used to be almost exclusively focused on grounds maintenance and security, facility managers now need to worry about asset management, risk management, operations and management, and business management, all of which are heavily tied into the use and development of IoT.
2. Tracking at every step of the process
Old inventory management systems were clunky and relied on manual entries. Now, thanks to the emergence of RFIDs, automatic scanners, and other IoT technology, it’s possible to track virtually every item along virtually every step of the distribution process, from the time they’re initially manufactured to the time they reach the customer. This leads to much better insights for companies looking to improve their processes and allows greater transparency so problems can be addressed faster.
3. Remote work
Currently, about 70 percent of people are working from home at least once a week, and that number is sure to increase as we gain access to better technology. IoT and related advancements in technology are making it possible for some employees to handle their responsibilities fully remotely, and some supervisors to keep an eye on things in a physical establishment even when they’re not present. Remote work can lead to higher productivity and lower upkeep costs for businesses, so it’s a win-win.
4. Higher productivity and cost-efficiency
IoT networks are designed to include many different devices, all working together as part of the same network. Depending on which devices you include and where you include them, you could measure everything from the average temperature in your office to the productivity of your average employee. Pooling the data from these various sources of input can help business leaders make better overall decisions, from improving the energy efficiency of their organization to modifying operational processes to increase overall productivity. Ultimately, that’s going to lead to much more profitable, efficient companies worldwide.
5. A better understanding of consumers
IoT can be used in many different ways to improve companies’ understanding of their customers. For example, retail stores can use monitoring IoT devices to keep an eye on how customers interact with displays and in-store products to see what they’re interested in, and tech companies can leverage IoT devices as a way to subtly spy on their customers, then selling that data to marketers and advertisers. No matter which way you look at it or which applications you consider, companies will have a better understanding of their customers, which can lead to the development of better products and better ads.
6. Employee skills
Many IoT devices are designed with user experience in mind. They tend to be simple, easy to learn, and easy to implement. That said, they’re also designed to automate, simplify, or enhance the existing manual process. Accordingly, companies are looking for employees and candidates who have higher-level tech skills or at least are willing to learn new tech processes and paradigms. They’re also typically willing to invest more in training and education for existing employees, enabling them to take over higher-skilled positions. However, it’s also likely that at least some jobs will be rendered obsolete due to these new, efficient technologies.
7. Industry-specific developments
IoT has the power to drive even more changes for certain industries. For example, businesses in manufacturing can use IoT to proactively maintain and upgrade their equipment. Businesses in the insurance industry can make use of consumer-held IoT devices, to gather more data on their habits and ultimately offer them better coverage and rates. And of course, the tech industry is home to a diversity of new developments.
Keeping Up With the Latest Standards
It can be hard for businesses to keep up with the latest devices and technologies—especially businesses that have a legacy infrastructure or a traditional approach. You don’t have to overhaul your systems overnight, nor do you need to be at the forefront of the latest technology all the time. However, the businesses that do invest the time, money, and effort into staying up-to-date on IoT are going to have a massive competitive advantage.