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According to Statista, there will be 75.44 billion connected devices in the world by 2025. This indicates that there will be ten times as many devices as there are people soon.
The rise of IoT has been prompted by a rapid digital transformation in businesses from virtually all industries. While to some people, the idea of IoT is daunting, Forbes suggests that around 60% of enterprises are using IoT to expand and transform their business. Additionally, 63% of the respondents in Forbes' study said that they're already delivering updated services thanks to IoT.
So, how exactly could the Internet of Things improve your business? Here are ten options.
Better Decision Making
Finally, the new data you collect from IoT, combined with a change in your business processes, could make it easier to see opportunities that you never noticed before. You'll be able to make decisions based on not only what you know about your customers, but your workforce and marketplace too.
Studies from McKinsey suggest that Tesla - one of the world's leading smart car manufacturers - collects terabytes of data from its vehicles. The company uses the information that it manages to make choices about future development cycles. The result has been countless updates to things like self-driving capabilities, maintenance strategies, and other innovative features.
Increased Opportunities for Automation
Speaking of making a business more efficient, IoT has the potential to open doors for automation in your company. With IoT sensors providing information to AI assistants, you can set up entire workflows using nothing but bots and ML. This doesn't necessarily mean that tomorrow's enterprises will run entirely without humans. However, it does suggest that people will be able to spend more of their time focused on creative and complex processes, rather than repetitive ones.
With machines handling the low-value tasks in your workforce, you can discover the true potential of your staff.
Productivity and Efficiency Gains
When all of the crucial processes of your company are connected through an IoT network, and you're collecting information from every aspect of your business, it's easy to identify ways to boost efficiency. Furthermore, some studies suggest that Industrial IoT could improve revenues by up to $154 million.
In Ford's Valencia Engine Assembly Plant in Spain, the company began experimenting with a special suit, featuring body-tracking sensor technology. The technology allowed Ford to track the movements of their employees and come up with a design for a less physically stressful workstation to enhance the manufacturing process.
One of the biggest benefits of IoT that has started to emerge more rapidly in recent years is the arrival of digital twin technology. This concept creates digital models of physical assets designed using real-time data. If a critical component in your company's processes fails, the digital twin can step in until you find the issue.
IoT technology can track the performance of systems over time, allowing engineers to know weeks in advance when errors appear. In fact, with IoT, you could reduce your risk of faults and downtime to a minimum.
Better Safety and Security
Many of the latest CCTV and access control products that companies use today are IoT enabled. Connecting your security system to the rest of your network provides your company with a range of advantages. You can view what's going on in your premises wherever you are in the world or link a camera to an intelligent system that can track and analyse suspicious behaviour.
IoT-connected security systems can even link back to biometric data, making it easier to control who can enter a building based on things like fingerprints and iris scanning, rather than just who has a key. In addition, this reduces the risk of potential breaches and theft.
Thanks to IoT initiatives, 58% of respondents in an HBR study say that they can collaborate more efficiently. A connected smartphone can allow users to work with the rest of their team, make changes to a project, or even update information on a machine anywhere in the world. IoT solutions are even appearing for the meeting room and conferencing environment.
In the future, IoT cameras connected to artificial intelligence networks will allow users to automatically log into a meeting room when they walk into a room. Therefore, those AI assistants could even load personalised tools and data for each user thanks to facial recognition.
Inventory Management and Tracking
Any business that sells a physical product has to deal with inventory management. The more comprehensive your portfolio is, the more time is needed updating information on a database. However, IoT software and devices can help with managing inventory changes, reducing the amount of time companies spend on logistics.
IoT sensors can even track the transport and delivery of products so that you can update your customers automatically. Not only do you give your customers a better level of service, but your stocking processes become more efficient too.
New Self-Service Opportunities
Organisations are already discovering new ways to eliminate the common friction points in the buyer journey. Countless supermarkets and stores are implementing scan-and-go technology that allows customers to check out without human assistance. This technology uses IoT sensors connected to an inventory database to check the price of items, and update stock lists automatically.
Simple self-service solutions mean that many retailers can start to make the most of their human shop assistants. With your own self-service tools, you could assign your workforce to more creative and interesting tasks, rather than asking them to scan products or update your inventory database.
A Better Understanding of your Customer
In the Forbes Insights survey, 47% of respondents said that they implemented visual analytics in their enterprises to capture information on situations and people. This information allows companies to understand how people react to certain levels of service from employees and in-store promotions.
IoT sensors and information provide companies with a fantastic opportunity to get the inside look into their customer's behaviour. As new tools emerge on the market, such as cameras with visual sensors, enterprises will find that it's even easier to learn about their target audience. IoT solutions combined with artificial intelligence can pave the way to happier customers, and better service.
Easier Access to more Data
Connecting devices through a cloud-based network give companies a chance to rapidly collect more data. With IoT, you can track and trace information from sensors placed throughout your store to find out how people look at your products when browsing in-person. IoT devices can also follow the performance of machines and employees in warehouses, assembly lines, production systems, and even vehicles to show you how your operations are going.
The more data you collect means more opportunities to improve performance and efficiency or open new doors for revenue growth.