Internet of Things: Buzzword or Important for your Business?
By now you may have heard of something called the “Internet of Things.” Not sure what it is? We’re here to help!
By definition, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of everyday objects – devices, vehicles, buildings, etc. – embedded with electronics, software, sensors, or anything that allows for network connectivity, in order to collect and exchange data.
In short, IoT is anything we would consider “smart,” that make life that much easier. Portable, “freshness-sensing” coffee grinders, lights you can control through your smartphone, even a GPS tracker attached to your pet’s collar that allows you to monitor its activity, are all great examples of IoT-run devices.
A decade ago, IoT would sound like a form of science-fiction. Now, it’s just a way of life, deemed a $6 trillion opportunity by the Business Insider. So what does that mean for you and your business?
An IoT device is typically controlled through a remote (such as a smartphone or tablet). The remote sends a signal to the device which performs the action. The remote and the device are connected (thus able to communicate) through a network. Data collected during this process can be stored. Essentially, imagine a tin can telephone where the can on the other end of the string is actually your fridge (telling you you’ve run out of ice) or your car (telling you to turn left on Main Street).
According to Business Insider, “Businesses will be the top adopter of IoT solutions because they will use IoT to 1) lower operating costs; 2) increase productivity; and 3) expand to new markets or develop new product offerings.”
In fact, following in the footsteps of the Netherlands, South Korea has launched its first commercial, low-cost IoT network, with the aim to make the country even more connected. From our cars and homes, all the way up to the Government level, the IoT affects every aspect of our lives. Soon, the ability to connect will simply be expected and our reach as consumers, businesses and governments will extend farther than ever before, changing the way we live, work and play forever.
With internet connectivity expanding, mobile adoption increasing, low-cost sensors and larger IoT investments, an IoT boom is imminent, if not already underway. IoT devices connected to the Internet are expected to more than triple by 2020, from 10 billion to 34 billion. They will account for 24 billion, while traditional devices such as smartphones, tablets and smart watches, will comprise 10 billion.
This could mean new revenue streams for your company. Whether that means changing the way you do business or simply the way you connect with your consumer, so many factors come into play when thinking about IoT. It now runs deeper than ensuring your website is mobile-friendly; is your product an IoT device? Is your brick and mortar store run using IoT solutions? Can your customer connect with you on the IoT highway? All things that, if you’re not thinking about now, you may want to start thinking about in the future, lest you be left in the proverbial dust.
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