Are You Ready For IoT, The “Internet of Things”?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is definitely here to stay, and it is growing by leaps and bounds. Since this technology makes life much easier for consumers, it can translate into profits for businesses of all sizes. In fact, the world of IoT is so massive that the Government of Britain has already invested £73 million according to an article printed on the American Express website.1
What is IoT?
IoT involves using a combination of networking, analytics, and sensors in order to achieve greater efficiency in real-time. In essence, it helps take common items and make them “intelligent” via the internet. Even more amazing is that most of the devices gather information from the sensors and automatically send it to manufacturers, business owners, or operators without any type of human contact.
Wearable devices are definitely the main interface of IoT. Although around 1.5 billion laptops, smartphones, desktops, and tablets are sold yearly, it only represents a small percentage of all devices. By 2020, IDC Marketing predicts that around 32 billion additional devices will also be connected; whereas Cisco says the number will escalate to over 50 billion. In addition, global IoT is expected to grow from $655.8 billion in the year of 2014 to $1.7 trillion in the year of 2020.
It is interesting to note that these technological sensors are so powerful that they can also control things such as an oil rig drill or even the components of an airplane engine.
Industries That Already Use IoT
There are many industries which already use this technology and the following are a few examples:
Automotive Industry – Remotely changes the settings on equipment or sends out a repair person to replace a bad part before the problem is even noticed by a human technician.
Trucking Companies – Remotely check the hours that a driver spends driving their rigs and monitors the schedule of maintenance and repairs.
Retail Businesses – Items such as oranges, apples, and coffee cups are tagged with ‘smart’ labels. Shoppers can then load up a buggy and go right through a scanner without even stopping. The contents of the shopping cart are automatically subtracted from a debit card via an electronic payment system which requires no human interaction. The flip side to this technology is that this could eventually mean job cuts as fewer people will be needed to run the cash registers.3
Small Businesses Can Profit
Companies such as Valarm and RainMachine are small businesses that have found a way to lower the cost and earn a profit by using sensors in old smart phones. Obviously, the main key is to find a product that will add value, is easy to use, and that people will want to purchase. Then, ensure that your product is affordable for the consumer and profitable for your business. There is one thing for sure. You will never convince Schneider Electric that it can’t build a better mouse trap because it added sensors to alert businesses and homeowner as to when rodents need to be removed. The company now charges a monthly fee to many businesses that are willing to pay for the service rather than be slammed with unwanted fines and publicity from municipal inspectors and food critics.2
No doubt about it, there is a very bright future ahead for the internet of things. Of course there are some security concerns that go along with all of this great technology, so your company might need to look into some extra safety measures.1 However, the good news is that the UK launched a £40m government program in September 2015 to help private sector businesses improve their IoT capabilities.4 In addition, you might also want to consider checking out the business.com website to see if you can find an investor who will help you turn your dream into a reality.5