How the ‘Internet of Things’ Affects Small Businesses

laptopThe Internet of Things may determine the future of your business.

A lot of people and small business owners have probably heard the term “Internet of Things” (IoT) a number of times before but unfortunately, only a handful understands what it means. Basically, the Internet of Things refers to a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects are provided with the ability to send and receive data over a network without requiring human intervention.

To do these, these physical objects or things are usually embedded with sensors, software, electronics, and network connectivity. According to leading IT analyst firm IDC, IoT can significantly improve production efficiency, provide a higher level of automation and improve quality of life.

IoT is unfolding right before your eyes and is fast becoming an integral part of your life. In fact, it is already creating an impact on a lot of people’s lives through smart homes, smart cars and/or smart health care.

IoT and Small Businesses: Understanding the Pros and Cons

While it is easy to understand how IoT impacts people’s lives, how exactly can it affect small businesses? In a nutshell, these emerging technologies will allow small businesses to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations, provide multiple business opportunities and open up new revenue streams.

However, failure to adopt can threaten the very existence of some small businesses the way FedEx, UPS and Home Depot wiped out small businesses in their respective industries. Big businesses are now investing huge amounts of money to adopt to the IoT so you need to stay informed and learn how to use the technology to your advantage. Keep in mind that unless you gain a foothold in the game, you may have to say goodbye to your business forever.

Despite its many benefits, IoT comes with one very serious threat ? cybersecurity. The sheer amount of data businesses collect online makes it extremely appealing for cybercriminals to hack into online data troves and steal valuable business information.

Tips to Increase Your Chances of Success

  • Stay informed. Attend IoT conferences to stay on top of things. This can help you learn about what’s going on your industry and give you the opportunity to expand your network.????
  • Keep it practical. There will be a lot of hype surrounding IoT especially during the earlier stages so you need to keep your IoT plan useful, practical and affordable. You also need to figure out a way to add real value to justify the additional cost and still compel people to buy your products.
  • Leverage the systems of larger firms. The IoT is expected to bring a lot of opportunities for small business owners. Larger firms will most probably need local businesses to deliver speedy, high-quality services to their customers.