IoT drives the paradigm shift that businesses are experiencing towards digital transformation. According to Statista, the number of IoT devices is likely to grow up to 31 billion by 2020. The organizations that are slow to integrate IoT into their business operations will eventually fall short in development, states a report from Economist Intelligence Unit. Adaptation of IoT in large businesses is on the rise. However the same is not seen in the case of SME’s.
SME’s are unable to leverage IoT due to lack of resources (financial and human) and modern tools. Any business, whether large or small aims to provide satisfactory services to customers to gain high revenues. Enterprise IoT helps in leveraging different opportunities to enhance business productivity.
Impact of IoT on SME’s
The IoT technology will have an overwhelming effect on the business process and consumer satisfaction. IoT will help in delivering smart products that can avoid damages by taking corrective actions (ex- GPS). There are numerous opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses in adopting IoT. From data usage to innovation and time-saving technology, IoT can significantly change the development process of businesses. IoT can help SME’s in:
- Development through Smart Data
IoT incorporates a network of various devices that collect valuable data from their users. The data helps SME’s in analyzing, measuring and correlating the changing landscape of consumer expectations. This will allow SME’s in targeting the opportune product services; thus, helping them to grow.
- Boosting Employee Productivity
Enterprise IoT allows employees to stay in tune with the growing trends in the industry. This helps in improving the productivity of the employees. The data from IoT devices gives employers a chance to adjust the employees working days around the time best suitable to them. Report from Gartner suggests that 94% of the companies have seen high returns on their enterprise IoT investments.
Application of IoT in SME’s
IoT makes manufacturing and supply processes highly efficient. Manufacturers can manage material flow, cycle time and process interdependency. This will help in reducing inventory costs and minimizing various capital risks. IoT can also provide information about component’s wear and tear. Therefore, preventing equipment failure and excess energy consumption which leads to decrease in operational costs.
With IoT, SME’s can collect real-time information from the users and instantly process it. This provides an opportunity for measuring and analyzing consumer behaviour to take risk-free marketing decisions. The IoT technology is a breakthrough for small industries trying to survive in a highly competitive market. The role of IoT in big data analytics provides a solution to reduce costs and take decisions with certainty.
The concept of smart cities is on the rise. The residents in these smart cities use technology to access various transportation services. SME’s can utilize the opportunity to develop applications that can help people with their requirements. These include paying toll or parking charges with wallet services, finding parking spots among others.
- Medical Services
Hospitals, diagnostic centres, doctors and healthcare professionals can monitor patients’ health easily by different wearable gadgets (2breathe, fitness rings). SME healthcare providers can utilize this opportunity to increase their revenue and earn patients’ faith with advanced services.
Retailers nowadays are using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to keep track of inventory in their stores. If there is a reduction in the quantity of a particular item, an alert is sent to warehouses for its replenishment. IoT can also enhance the in-store experience. Products can be connected to the list of groceries in the smartphones of the customers as soon as they enter the shop. Providing an organized path/location of the required products helps users in saving time.
Farmers can leverage IoT to monitor the environmental conditions, soil temperatures and accordingly provide water to the plants. This will not only reduce water consumption but also help farmers in improving the yield and garnering more profits.
IoT has endless applications in various SME’s. Enterprises can incorporate and utilize big data to improve their customer’s experience. This will not only help them in increasing revenues but also grow in the fierce competition. However, there are some security challenges with IoT that SME’s must ensure so they do not compromise their customer’s privacy and security.