If you’ve shopped for home products lately, you’ve likely noticed an interesting new trend at hardware stores across the country.
Internet connectivity is no longer limited to computers and mobile devices. Everything from alarm systems to light bulbs are joining the Internet of Things (IoT) trend, giving consumers the ability to control their homes from a smartphone or tablet.
In the business world, the IoT movement stands to change things dramatically in the coming years. It’s important that entrepreneurs be fully aware of this growing trend in order to find ways to make use of it in their own products. Here are a few things business owners should know about IoT.
1. Smart Means Competitive
For businesses of all sizes, the first consideration is whether or not its products or services can benefit from IoT. A manufacturer of children’s toys, for instance, may find that by adding Internet connectivity, it can then create an app that adds new, exciting management features to that toy. This innovative “extra” can lure customers away from competing products, helping a brand carve out an exciting new niche.
Service providers can benefit from the Internet of Things, as well. Healthcare providers have already discovered that through sensors, they can track patient health and gather information on their patients. This data can be used to provide more informed healthcare services or free patients up to leave the hospital setting and recover at home.
2. The Connected Office
Behind the scenes, businesses will make changes to implement IoT technology into their office spaces. Everything from lights to server rooms will be connected to the cloud, where they can be managed. Businesses can set administrative rules for their IOT-connected products, as well as receiving alerts on their mobile devices when certain events happen.
For facilities management, IoT can be good news, since it will keep utilities low. Building managers can control lights and temperature throughout each of their properties through an app. That same app can be set to send notifications when a light bulb needs to be changed or the temperature in an area moves outside of a predefined zone.
3. Data Gathering and IoT
At the same time IoT is heating up, data science is more popular than ever, as well. Businesses have realized the benefits of knowing as much as possible about everything they do, from new marketing campaigns to product launches. As more businesses take advantage of the tools that allow them to gather information and put it to use, entrepreneurs who don’t use analytics are at a competitive disadvantage.
With IoT, businesses have more powerful tools at their disposal. When a product is connected to the Internet, brands gain the ability to gather information on how customers interact with their items. An Internet-connected appliance, for instance, could deliver data on electricity usage and customer actions to help brands improve their products.
4. IoT Brings Risks
As businesses have added smartphones and tablets to their networks, they’ve learned that each new item bumps up security risks slightly. When businesses add office appliances and lighting fixtures to the server, the risk of a security breach increases exponentially.
Businesses are gradually opting to go to the cloud for applications, data storage, and even network infrastructure needs. As they do so, they sometimes make the decision to cut back on IT staff, trusting cloud providers to handle everything. With so many connected devices, however, businesses may find managing security requires the assistance of a full-time security expert.
The Internet of Things promises to revolutionize the way consumers and business owners do everything. When brought into the business environment, IoT can help entrepreneurs manage their office spaces and set alerts to keep things running smoothly.
Article republished courtesy of Jonha Richman, for the Web.com Small Business Forum. Web.com offers a full range of affordable website design and online marketing services. Visit the Forum for free access to Web.com’s extensive library of e-books, the latest small business news and support from other business owners.
Jonha Richman is a business strategist with over 8 years of experience working with brands such as IKEA, Dove, Panasonic, and others. Her works have been published on The Huffington Post and Business Insider, among others.
NOTE: This article was originally authored by Jonha Richman and republished by Web.com. It has been republished by 1-800Accountant with permission.