Can the Internet of Things Help Your Business?

You’ve probably read all kinds of headlines about the “Internet of things,” or IoT. It’s gotten a lot of press as of late, and its potential benefits seem almost too good to be true. Yet for all the buzzwords and fads, you may be left wondering, “What is it? And is it worth my attention?” Chances are you’re using it already. This article will break down what it is and whether it’s something that might benefit you and your business.

What is IoT?
The IoT refers to ordinary devices that are connected to the Internet–anything from refrigerators to cars to medical devices. These devices are capable of exchanging data online and can usually be monitored and controlled remotely. Many IoT devices contain additional sensors that provide more information to the user. That data can then be broken down to illustrate trends and performance. Smart Home devices like the Nest Thermostat and the Amazon Echo allow users to automate certain tasks. These technologies aren’t reserved just for the home, however. Entire cities are making use of IoT data to solve large-scale problems like traffic congestion and crime.

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How Can it Help Businesses?
Smart devices make it possible for businesses to increase efficiency and decrease expenditure. One example is Square, a free credit card reader that connects to your smartphone or tablet. It makes accepting payments a snap, no matter where you are. Their flat-rate fee even makes it easy to calculate expenses.

If you or your employees travel regularly, Automatic can keep track of your mileage, estimate your fuel costs, and more. Best of all, the dongle plugs right into your car’s dash system. There’s no complicated installation.

If you run a small office, you may benefit from a smart lock system or a doorbell like Ring. Smart locks will help you keep track of who’s coming and going from the office, while Ring provides camera surveillance and an intercom for visitors. These systems could potentially negate the need for a security guard or a receptionist. They offer powerful results, and they won’t break the bank.

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Is it a Fad?
The IoT holds a great deal of promise, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. Business Insider reports that the number of IoT devices will more than triple from 10 billion to 34 billion by 2020. Out of all demographics, businesses will be the top adopter due to the potential for the IoT to help them raise profits and reach new markets. While not every IoT solution will suit your business, it’s well worth considering your options. Otherwise, you may find yourself scrambling to catch up. Staying ahead of the curve means that you can capitalise on new opportunities–even create your own–before the competition does.