The small business community remains both progressive and ever-changing, and this is arguably best reflected in its embracing of modern technology. The internet of things (IoT), or the embedding of interconnected devices, stands as a key example of such innovation; from heightened time management to increased mobility, its benefits have only grown more profound in recent years, leading more small businesses to consider IoT-based investments.
Here are a few ways the IoT is currently shaping small business.
Broadly speaking, the IoT has shown potential in enhancing internal productivity; this currently being observed on a variety of fronts:
- Virtual assistants and other bot-based resources have increased efficiency by saving time spent on small, yet collectively hindering tasks — from payroll fact checking to the ordering of office supplies.
- Some IoT workplaces have observed stronger time management tendencies thanks to interconnected scheduling devices. Workers utilizing a Google suite, for instance, are able to stay on top of daily obligations both at their desks and on the go via connected mobile devices.
- Detailed business insights stemming from IoT technology have grown into a new analytical norm. Many businesses, especially those previously lacking in proper funding, are now able to effectively track and interpret key customer data via their own connected devices, accessing a potentially vast amount of data in a manner that is both quick and, in many cases, cost-friendly.
More specifically, the IoT has made it easier for certain companies to track and maintain equipment and products. IoT sensor technology is currently revolutionizing inventory management, a variable that, like customer data, may have been difficult to broadly oversee in the past while remaining efficient. Higher level supply chains are now able to tap a culture “rich in analytics, insight, and contextual intelligence and accountability for results” (which itself hinges on advanced IoT functionality) without sacrificing time otherwise spent on complex aggregation and subsequent insight analysis — not to mention the additional time spent on physical equipment errors.
With these notions in mind, it is easy to see why business-to-business (B2B) applications of IoT are currently expected to exceed $300 billion in annual revenue by 2020.