The Internet of Things or IoT as it is also known, is no longer only discussed by tech geeks but is increasingly being talked about in wider circles. But what is it and what does it mean for you as an entrepreneur or an established business leader?
IoT surrounds us in our everyday lives. From our smart phones and tablets, to smart TVs and smart meters in your home, IoT involves all devices that are connected to the internet. It’s about enabling these things to ‘speak’ to each other through a common language. By continually storing and analysing data in a highly connected network of complex algorithms, meaningful information can be extracted and used. One of the most common examples is the smart fridge. With built-in cameras, your fridge senses when a food item is low and reorders it.
Facilitated in large by high speed internet connections and wifi-enabled devices, IoT is changing the world as we know it. It is estimated that there will be more than 26 billion devices connected to the internet in 2020 and that the IoT market will be worth $267 billion in the same year. So what does this mean for your business?
First and foremost, you need to consider increased efficiency. Automated and digitalised processes could allow time and energy to be saved on mundane and routine workplace tasks such as ordering stationery supplies. A system that revolves around IoT means that data could be collected to notify the supplier when stationery stock is low and can automatically be reordered. This means that your time can be spent more effectively on developing the needed creativity and innovation for your business. Moreover, because IoT is highly data driven, data can be collected, analysed and also monetised, meaning more opportunities for strategic operations. By understanding in greater depth your customers and how they engage with your products or services, you can ensure that your marketing strategy is more targeted. On a personal level, the success of your business depends on a large degree on your physical and mental health. Smart fitness trackers and smart watches can collect and analyse data on your personal health that can act as a trigger notifying you to take some time out for exercise or have some rest.
Despite concerns over IoT security and the invasion of privacy, there is no doubt that IoT helps to make our lives easier and arguably safer. In a world where there are more devices connected to the internet than people, this equates to a realm of infinite possibilities for entrepreneurs. Seen as the next industrial revolution, it is essential that established business leaders and entrepreneurs alike get clued up on IoT and understand the benefits that it will bring to their ventures.