The rapidly growing Internet of Things (IoT) technology has made quite a substantial impact on the way people run and manage businesses. Various industries such as construction, agriculture, logistics, even real-estate have seen significant changes due to the use of this technology. The IoT market is expected to grow more than $2.4 trillion per year globally by 2027. Which means that more than 41 billion devices will be linked in a network by that year. As with all new things there are amazing benefits but also some drawbacks which you should consider for your business. Here is an overview of how IoT is changing the business landscape.
Some of the advantages
Reduced operating costs
If you are operating a business using IoT devices you are likely going to experience significant reduction of operating costs. This is because the IoT-integrated equipment can give you real-time information so that you can execute important operations with more ease and readiness. In addition, IoT sensors can signal when a device is nearing its required maintenance, so the staff can prepare for the maintenance without limiting the ongoing rate of production. There are endless opportunities for optimizing work using this latest technology. For instance, professional IoT companies can setup even the most complex machinery to use IoT technology, such as heavy construction equipment in order to minimize substantial costs that comes with inefficient fuel use or suboptimal driving patterns.
A safer work environment
One often overlooked aspect of running a business is regulating the safety of everyone. This is especially the case in industries that revolve around hard labor while operating powerful machinery. Such as the oil and gas industry or even construction work. That is where IoT devices using extremely fast internet 4G connections can prevent workplace hazards. This is because there is a better way to communicate in the workplace and the devices can remove the human error in the various phases of the work process. A safer workplace is going to mean a lot for attracting new investors, clients and potential employees. In addition, your employee retention will go up as well, since you will be able to build trust with your workers by offering them a much safer place to work at.
As mentioned by Jonas Østergaard Pedersen, International SEM Manager of Eco Online, “Creating a safe environment doesn’t just protect employees, it also helps them focus on their work. That in turn leads to higher productivity.”
Better business insights
Another amazing benefit of IoT devices is that they can continually track important data regarding your workplace efficiency and other crucial parameters. A good example are retail stores which leverage beacon technology to adjust their store’s work dynamic in relation to real-time traffic. This data can be used to optimize how you handle your supply chain and how deliveries can be made according to an optimal schedule. Later on, the accumulated data will give you a great insight into what the strengths and weaknesses of your business are, so that you can make appropriate adjustments in the long-run.
What are potential disadvantages?
The learning curve
One of the disadvantages of using IoT in your business is the technical complexity that comes with the new technology. What seems like a simple tool that optimizes work for us is actually quite a complex process “under the hood”. In order to make the most out of this device it is extremely important to provide proper training for everyone so that they can use the IoT technology to their advantage without creating any unwanted confusion and problems. For instance, if a worker mishandles an IoT sensor it could potentially read the wrong data which is going to output false information which can later have catastrophic consequences. Initial staff training is definitely required before fully implementing this advanced technology.
In order for IoT devices to reach their full potential it is extremely important to address how you protect the collected data. Researchers from Microsoft and Michigan University have found several weak points regarding security of SamsungThings platform. This could mean that the entire platform can easily be compromised by hackers. This is especially important since there is a high rate of personal information and data theft. When running a business this becomes an even bigger concern, because a cyberattack could cost you severely, considering many ongoing data security lawsuits.
In order to create a maximally secure and efficient IoT network it is quite important to use devices from the same manufacturer. As these devices become more and more complex and sophisticated so do the compatibility issues start to arise. In order to ensure maximum efficiency, it is a good idea to connect these devices with other skilled technical partners, such as smart thermostats being connected to sophisticated data centers and other mobile networks for optimal performance. IoT can definitely bring great benefits if there are no potential liabilities regarding its use.
IoT is one of the closest attempts of merging reality and technology, where this link can both bring amazing never-before-seen benefits but also carry with it complicated nuances. Some of the benefits include; significant reduction of operating costs due to more efficient use of resources, higher safety standard in the workplace due to the elimination of human error risk factors, and amazing value that comes from business insights. On the other hand, potential problems stem from a high technical complexity required to setup the entire system, security issues that come from weak cybersecurity protocols, and difficulties with making a network of fully compatible devices.