3 ways businesses can benefit from the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is playing an ever-increasing role in our day-to-day lives. Think about it. Our smart refrigerator tells our smart phone that we need Smartwater. We depend on Fitbits to help us get our bits fit. Our doorbell is now a hi-def security system that deters break-ins and gives us the occasional opportunity to freak out the Amazon delivery dude. And for many of us, the most meaningful conversation we have throughout the day is with someone (okay, someTHING) named Alexa.
The potential use-cases for consumer IoT goods is seemingly limitless. But how does this translate to businesses, both large and small? What’s in IoT for them?
Gartner recently published an IoT Trend Insight Report, in which analyst Venicia K. Liu uncovered three main benefits for businesses: enhanced efficiencies and increased productivity; the ability to deliver a better customer experience; and increased profits along with new revenue streams.
Let’s take a closer look at each.
1. The Internet of Things helps businesses become more efficient and productive.
When asked about the most significant benefits generated by internal IoT initiatives, 41% of Gartner survey respondents cited workforce productivity enhancement. This is especially prevalent in medical, logistics, and building management industries.
Through IoT advancements, hospital staff are better able to care for their patients since redundant paperwork has been replaced with devices that can scan wristbands and report up-to-date medical histories. Scanners and mobile phone apps help warehouse workers and drivers provide product and delivery status to both customers and management. Smart chips embedded in employee identification cards allow workers access into the building as well as a way to pay for lunches and snacks in the corporate cafeteria.
All of these examples demonstrate how IoT technology not only increases efficiencies in overall business processes, but also makes it more convenient for employees to actually go to work. This, in turn, leads to increased productivity and less turnover.
2. Thanks to advancements in IoT capabilities, businesses are able to provide a better overall customer experience.
When it comes to the external benefits of IoT, almost 40% of respondents to the Gartner survey stated that the biggest benefit businesses experience is a tighter integration of customer care with product performance and usage.
Consider the auto industry. New cars have built-in sensors linked to mobile phone apps that can tell you when your car needs regularly scheduled maintenance and can also diagnose any form of car trouble on the spot. Lock your keys in your car? No problem. Your smart phone can open your car for you.
Utilizing the Internet of Things to provide the highest level of customer service and convenience will be the new battleground when it comes to competition. As consumers become more and more accustomed to the IoT lifestyle, manufacturers and service providers have no choice but to give the people what they want. All future products and offerings will need to be designed with IoT capabilities in mind.
3. The continually expanding Internet of Things brings with it entirely new revenue streams and additional profit margins.
When you think about the enormous amount of information being gathered from all these IoT devices, it’s no surprise that, according to the Gartner report, 10% of organizations will have a highly profitable business unit dedicated to monetizing their collection of data by the year 2020. Not only are the “things” in the Internet of Things generating revenue, but the information they collect regarding consumer behavior may prove to be an organization’s most profitable source of income.
A company that manufactures fitness tracking devices can create a new revenue stream by offering consulting services to insurance companies, health clubs, and diet and nutrition organizations. Home security providers can offer assistance and consulting to local neighborhood watch groups and law enforcement agencies.
Businesses need to start thinking beyond the actual product they are designing and also focus on the behavioral and analytical data that will be collected as a result of use and how they will best monetize that valuable information.
The Internet of Things is happening all around us, and it will continue to grow in ways we both can and can’t imagine. The best thing businesses can do to stay on top of the trend is to know their customers and continually anticipate their needs. Continue to find ways to make their lives easier and even more connected.
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