The term “Internet of Things” (or IoT for short), is a phrase coined by technology expert and entrepreneur Kevin Ashton in 1999, although variations on the concept had existed previously. It describes a network of physical devices embedded with electronics such as sensors and trackers that connect to the internet, allowing for precise control and monitoring, alongside the relevant software. Examples could be anything from smart thermostats, to heart monitors to shipping containers.
The cost of connecting objects to the IoT is falling all the time, with products such as the Raspberry Pi bringing versatile sensor and networking technology to a mass market. As a business owner, how could researching and implementing an approach to the IoT help you to increase productivity and reduce headaches?
Any marketer will tell you that accurate, up-to-date consumer information is worth its weight in gold. Instead of relying on customers to fill out surveys or answer questions, the IoT gives you the actual, quantified data you require, directly from the source. Spending and consumption habits can be tracked and analysed to a degree never before possible, allowing you to provide exactly the products and services your target market is looking for.
The goal of reducing storage and transport overheads has become a major aim of modern business thinking. The most famous example being Walmart’s “Just in Time” inventory system, where storage costs are kept to an absolute minimum by drastically reducing the amount of time goods spend on the shelf, while still ensuring customers can get whatever they want without delays.
The combination of smart tracking devices and software enables smaller businesses adopt this approach by automating inventory checks, removing the need to manually count and record stock by hand.
Whether you manufacture physical products or provide services to your customers, having a constant flow of data from web-connected devices gives you a clear overview of your productivity strengths and weaknesses.
Being able to monitor every stage in a manufacturing and supply chain, and analysing where you are succeeding or falling behind can greatly assist in making vital business decisions. Working practices can be adapted with IoT data, bringing significant efficiency and productivity gains.
An early IoT development most people are already familiar with is parcel tracking. Being able to know where an order is, and when it is arriving has become enormously popular. Applying this logic to other services, we can see how consumers will choose companies that provide them with relevant data and updates, as opposed to those who leave them in the dark.
In a highly competitive marketplace, where customers are happy to switch provider at a moments notice, high-quality customer service is essential to retaining business. IoT solutions give you this advantage, without the need for a large, dedicated customer service department.
If you’re interested providing efficient service to customers using a powerful, cloud-based business process management system, get in touch with us today, for a free, no-obligation demonstration.