If you’re in the business world, chances are you’ve either heard of the Internet of Things (IoT) or you use it on a daily basis to run your business. IoT tech can be found in businesses of all sizes and, before long, everyone will need to know how it works. The concept of IoT doesn’t have to be super complicated, especially if you break it down fundamentally.
What is IoT?
IoT is the concept of connecting physical places and objects in the world via the internet. By making these web connections—regardless of the size of business in question—both their systems and processes can be improved; they can become more efficient; and new services, products and businesses models become possible.
This is particularly helpful to small businesses that often don’t have the workforce to handle everything at once.
What do you mean by “things”?
The “things” aspect of IoT can be divided into 3 categories:
- Information senders and collectors
- Information actors and receivers
- Things that do all of the above
Things that collect and send information are devices that are capable of detecting motion and things typically found in the environment around us, such as:
- Air quality
- Environmental conditions
For example, a refrigerator in a small commercial kitchen is capable of keeping the humidity level of a certain section of the fridge optimal for the food in it.
Things that receive and act are those that are capable of taking in information and analyzing it for specific needs. Keeping with the same small commercial kitchen example, a refrigerator with receive and act capabilities could notice a problem with the temperature and alert someone to fix it. This would help mitigate product lossーessential for a small business.
Things that are capable of doing all these actions are much more sophisticated. Think of an agricultural operation that has sensors embedded in the soil. These sensors would calculate how moist or dry the ground is and then run the irrigation system as needed.
There are many benefits for incorporating IoT into your small business, including:
- Improving efficiency
- Saving money
- Increasing safety
Efficiency can be improved because IoT sensors are capable of providing 24/7 monitoring without having a person physically watching the equipment. When problems do arise, the appropriate person is immediately notified and repairs can be made quickly to reduce downtime.
Saving money is always important to businesses, but it’s that much more important for small businesses. There are IoT devices that make it possible to monitor everything, down to your power consumption and provide ways to cut costs. Additionally, these devices make it possible to automate certain processes, which can free up your human staff for other projects that have higher priority.
Safety is another important aspect of running a business. IoT sensors can alert you to any number of safety concerns, including temperature fluctuations, power loss, unauthorized access, chemicalsーyou name it.