How the Internet of Things will benefit Small Businesses
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been highly discussed recently, especially as the capabilities of smart technologies continue to evolve. Essentially, IoT is about connecting anything to the internet using sensors. It is part of our business smartphones, as well as devices, and this is only the start.
Most tech-savvy consumers are aware of the way that the Internet of Things will impact their home and work life, but what does this upcoming trend mean for the business world? The area is going to get so big, so fast that firms who will be slow to embrace it will fall behind their rivals.
While IoT it’s a cool idea, the implications and benefits of an ultra-connected world aren’t always obvious to business owners. Actually, one recent survey by security software maker AVG found many small-business owners still don’t even know what the “IoT” means. But the concept could actually benefit small businesses:
- New business opportunities
The Internet of Things doesn’t just offer greater efficiency, but it also opens the door to many new business opportunities and revenue streams that entrepreneurs can seize upon. It has the potential to change the way businesses and consumers approach the world, and, they will need new devices and services that help them navigate this changing, ultra-connected landscape.
- More efficient, real-time operations
Being able to connect more devices to the Internet will allow businesses greater intelligence and the ability to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. Many small businesses will likely upgrade their equipment in the coming years and install “smart” machines and devices that can be connected to the internet.
- Efficient working
As the price of devices comes down, it’s likely that most firms will eventually be IoT enabled. But small businesses must get their data in order first. Because it generates huge amounts of information, the Internet of Things is very much linked to big data and analytics. These huge amounts of data are seeing increasing use of cloud, making IoT more accessible for small businesses. As a result, the opportunity lies in making this more efficient.
In the future, this could mean the potential to use the information that is generated by machines to improve customer service, for example. Other industries that will also benefit include healthcare, retail, and transportation.
- Cyber-security and privacy concerns
One drawback to this ultra-connected world is cyber-security. The more data collected online inevitably means there’s greater potential for thieves to hack into online data collections and steal valuable and sensitive business information. This is why small businesses also need to think about the security implications of the Internet of Things.
Connected devices are considered vulnerable to hacking because many of them use the Linux OS which might not be patched in the same way as licensed services such as Windows. Therefore, firms must approach IoT in the same way they do all IT systems, by updating them regularly and using identity management and authentication.
What we have to keep in mind is that the “connected world” vision is no longer a buzzword, and it’s already happening. Over the next few years, we will see it becoming part of our lives, whether it is through smart homes, smart cars or smart healthcare. It’s clear that the IoT will disrupt most industries, so make sure you’re keeping your business up to speed.
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