The Internet of Things is here to stay and quickly becoming a new standard in home appliances and gadgets. Whether it’s smart thermostats, lighting, speakers, AI assistants, security cameras, or smart electrical outlets, the penetration of IoT devices into the home continues to accelerate as more and more innovative products come to market. Many of these new gadgets are also directly applicable to businesses and are being marketed to the needs of business owners, large and small.
Energy-Saving Gadgets Save Money
Energy-saving IoT devices help businesses save money by reducing waste. Smart lights save electricity by using motion-detectors to turn off when no one around and turn on when someone is nearby. Smart thermostats reduce a building’s heating and cooling expenses by responding to sensors that monitor temperature and activity both inside and outside of a building or even to weather forecasts. Smart electric outlets and appliances can also cut a business’s energy budget by automatically turning off during hours they will not be used.
On a larger scale, electric grid demand monitors are beginning to be deployed that reduce a business’s electric bill by limiting energy consumption during peak demand hours when the price of electricity spikes. Many devices like air conditioners and refrigerators can safely turn off or minimize the power they use during these hours. This benefits the regional electric grid as well as a business’s bottom line.
Smart Security Makes Business Safer
Smart security cameras and door locks have made business security more convenient and reliable. Smart cameras that are internet connected can stream video to smartphones and computers as well as store footage in the cloud rather than on local storage media. This makes it possible to monitor a business’s security from anywhere and manages the storage of video footage efficiently. Smart door locks also make a business safer by locking and unlocking at set times, making them remote controlled, and managing which employees have access to certain areas of a company’s premises. Smart locks also can record who has passed through doors by reading an RFID tag on an employee’s security badge.
These new improvements add up to a much safer business and an unprecedented ability to investigate and prosecute security breaches when they happen.
Marketing and Business Intelligence
One of the major innovations in the business that the Internet of Things makes possible is the new sources of market and consumer data that these devices can collect. Precise and timely insights about large market segments and individuals are giving businesses the data they need to target marketing messages directly to consumers.
For example, a smart product like the Fitbit can collect activity and travel data from individual consumers that can be used in several ways. Consumer shopping behavior can be analyzed. Activity data like the number of steps they’ve taken could be used to send timely marketing messages. After a million steps, a suggestion for a new pair of shoes could be delivered to their phone or email address. Another example is a smart refrigerator that sends a reminder to its owner to order a new filter after five hundred gallons of water has been dispensed.
Artificial Intelligence Makes Businesses Smarter
AI applications using business intelligence gathered by smart devices can help businesses automate data analysis tasks too time-consuming or complex for people. AI can set dynamic prices on e-commerce sites tailored to a visitor’s profile or zip code and interact with customers to provide routine customer service. Larger businesses can make marketing decisions using deep learning AI that finds a long-term or subtle patterns in historical data, such as consumer behavior or seasonal sales data.
For example, Paypal is using artificial intelligence to detect fraudulent and illegal transactions by deceptive merchants without the need of an army of workers monitoring for such activity. In the healthcare industry, AI is being developed to detect the onset of diseases by finding patterns in medical records of large populations. Those patterns are then used to issue warnings for patients showing the same symptoms. Self-driving cars and drones are examples of how artificial intelligence will change the way companies deliver products in the future.
Smart Technology Key to Competing in the Future
The time is right for businesses to begin exploring the many ways the Internet of Things (IoT) can transform the way they operate. Some gadgets are simple labor-saving upgrades, some can gather marketing data, and still, others can offer opportunities to reduce overhead by saving energy and improving security. Businesses that move to adopt these improvements quickly as they are proven in the market will have a performance edge on their competition.
Author Bio: Maricel Tabalba is a freelance writer who is interested in themes surrounding smart gadgets, emerging tech trends and environmentally friendly advice. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago.