Remember? Smartphones have been out only for 8 years, and the number of networked devices today already outnumbers the number of humans on Earth. Similarly, the number of connected devices on the Internet of Things will soon outnumber the people by over 7 to 1, accounting to over 50 million connected devices by 2020, ranging from cars (90% of cars expected to be online by 2020) to cows. And this is a 285% increase over the 13.4billion connected devices in 2015. See how fast the Internet of Things is unfolding.
IoT impact on business
True that IoT promises a ‘Smart’ everything, but it delivers more than wickedly intelligent solutions for businesses as is evident from the following predictions:
- The Largest Market: In 2019 IoT market will be double the size of tablet, PC, smartphone, wearable and the connected car markets combined.
- Increased global spending: By 2019, Internet of Things devices, connectivity solutions and services will account to $1.7trillion value added to the global economy, from $656 billion in 2014.
- Increased revenue: In 3 years, device shipments will grow to 6.7billion for a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 61%. IT or Software firms and infrastructure companies will have the massive share of this revenue.
- Increased efficiency and decreased cost: High productivity in low cost will be the major outcome of the widespread IoT.
While it seems a smart idea for an ultra-connected world, its benefits and implications for business are not often so clear to all. Studies show that many small business owners still haven’t taken IoT seriously or started to plan their business around it. So, as a business owner, what and why should you learn about the Internet of Things? How tweaking your business on a micro-level for the Internet of Things will help it operate and grow on a macro level?
IoT benefits for Businesses
Here’s how businesses will realize the benefits from a totally connected world:
- Real-time operations make things more efficient, improves productivity
Imagine if the point-of-sale devices on a retail shop are connected to the warehouse and analytics systems, the process of managing and replacing the stock becomes automatic, without the need for a staff to manually look into the matters. The cycle thus becomes very efficient and time-saving. This efficiency in long run will bring numerous cost benefits to businesses. Businesses can similarly automate every corner of their processes with smart devices, machines or systems that are connected and can interact with each other to accomplish tasks. This will eliminate the need for manual interventions at every phase, having to be physically present at locations, or having to make time-consuming trips, thus making operations smart, fast, and efficient.
- New Business opportunities
The Internet of Things will require businesses to change their existing processes and practices to be more efficient. This will in turn require many new devices (that can connect to the internet), equipments, and services, which will help businesses navigate smoothly through this change to the ultra-connected landscape. Industry experts say that hundreds and thousands of unique business opportunities will rise from the IoT growth. To name a few would be, solutions addressing real-time demands, needs and threats, personalized services for customers, improved customer services, accurate and effective forecasting, improved process optimization and the like.
- IoT is no joke with these influential investors
Highly influential and powerful groups have been supporting the Internet of Things massively, including the British government that has invested £73 million in IoT already. Internet of Things has turned the next big investment area for the industry giants, who are scrambling to invest and grab their shares from this market. Though the market poses high-security concerns and challenges, investors have their eyes fixed on the gigantic money-making opportunities here. Global investments in IoT services are forecasted to touch $ 235 billion in 2016, a 22% increase from the previous year. Giants like, Google, Apple, IBM and other deep-pocketed investors behind it probably hint how their businesses are set to bloom with IoT.
- Greater consumer impact
The Internet of Things will make things extremely convenient, efficient and will provide tangible benefits for consumers- something that will directly affect every business. The positive impact of IoT on customers, in addition to its impact on internal operations in the business, will simply make processes great. For instance, keyless access control devices fitted in rental houses allow customers to inspect rental properties of their interest conveniently, by allowing access to houses with unique codes sent to their mobile through the real-estate app. The customer thus has no overhead of waiting for agents to deliver the keys, nor does the agent have the headache of taking all the customers through the house-inspection process.
- Automation will replace some jobs
For businesses, it would be better to say that the kind of jobs will transform, and it is not simply vanishing jobs! Automation would replace some jobs and at the same time, create more requirements for skilled personnel who know about the Internet of Things, the latest technologies, its vulnerabilities, and security factors. Of course, the parts that can be mechanized will get automated, but will require more smart human brains wherever required.
- Smarter ways of Marketing
We will see less of those lazy, old-school advertisements, where there is no actual respect for the customer or his money. The big brands will start creating smart, relevant, valuable ads that are highly personalized to each individual and is worth to them. For instance, in a futuristic IoT connected mall, a model in a shop’s billboard may call out your name to let you know about an offer on ‘something’ you are interested in. Similarly, there are tremendous ways marketing can get really valuable and personal.
- Don’t worry, IoT isn’t appearing overnight to make your business obsolete
The Internet of Things is not a trend appearing overnight, that will come and make your businesses practices outdated in a few hours’ time! Rather it is developing with your business gradually, over time. Remember how your business was 10 years before? Since then, you have probably invested in technologies like, mobile/smart devices, wireless internet, cloud storage, analytical software, virtual servers and more. If you did, then you are adapting to the changing trends and being a part of it positively. Developments will be gradual; you just need to pick up the pace, think in advance, and plan for the future.
As we see, Internet of Things is ultimately about services and a lot many solutions and not just about the ‘number of connected devices in the network’. IDC predicts that in 2018, when 22 billion devices get installed in the network, it also drives the development of more than 200,000 new IoT apps and services.
Think such an app or solution can give your business a forward thrust in the current scenario? Don’t waste your time thinking, take your thoughts forward, make an IoT plan for your business now and give it life. Contact us if you need further help figuring this out.
Image credits: IP Watchdog, IoT revolution expo