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The main benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things lets you turn on your air conditioner remotely on a hot day, so the rooms are cool when you get home. It also enables a car manufacturer to monitor workplace safety and make improvements to protect workers. In this article, we’ll look at the applications and significant benefits of the IoT while also considering some drawbacks.

The main benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

8 benefits of IoT for businesses

While individuals use many devices at home, business is driving the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). There is a lot a business can gain from IoT devices, so let’s look at some key benefits that smart connected devices provide.

1. Cost savings

Every business can benefit from reducing operating costs, and Internet of Things devices let you do that. Simple activities like turning off lights when not in use can save money.

Large networks of IoT devices can monitor entire systems and produce significant savings for companies in their business operations. For example, a company can monitor an entire factory’s heating demands using an array of smart sensors and then control the system using artificial intelligence. This system could provide heating effectively when and where needed and help the company reduce costs significantly.

IoT solutions mean that machines need less downtime, and maintenance costs become lower. For instance, businesses use IoT solutions to plan efficient routes to reduce the cost of shipping. IoT systems can monitor equipment in real-time to help it work more efficiently and prevent breakdowns before they happen. All of these functions of smart devices can help enterprises save money.

2. Improved data collection

Connected, automated IoT technology helps enterprises collect more data more effectively than ever before. In the past, retail stores would need to hire people to watch customers move around their stores and observe how they interact with products and displays. With connected sensors, retailers can now watch customer behavior in real-time and save money.

Businesses can discover how their products move, who buys them, and where they’re needed in supply chains. Business owners can also follow their employees’ productivity and machine output to see where efficiency can be improved.

All this data is highly valuable to businesses. However, it’s important to stress that businesses should always be privacy conscious and respect their customers’ and employees’ privacy. They should commit themselves to keeping any data they collect confidential, ensure consent, and protect it against malicious actors.

3. Increased automation

Industrial Internet of Things technology lets machines do what humans previously had to. For example, a technician may have had to take hourly temperature readings on an industrial machine to ensure it wasn’t in danger of overheating. Now, a simple smart device can automate these key business processes. When companies use more IoT technology to automate menial tasks, they free up their human workers to do more important activities and produce more value.

4. Efficiency

An IoT-connected pressure gauge can tell drivers when tires aren’t inflated to ideal pressure. Beacons and machine learning algorithms can help optimize the vehicle’s location and routes. Internet of Things devices can also track the vehicle’s wear and tear and identify when it might need maintenance. These are everyday examples of how IoT solutions can increase efficiency in business.

IoT devices can make a huge difference, whether they’re helping with predictive maintenance, energy efficiency, real-time monitoring, or optimal asset utilization. They help to streamline operational processes and reduce wastage while increasing value

5. Safety

Employees’ safety is a leading concern in most industries. Employers want to keep their workers happy and healthy, but they also want to ensure that injuries, accidents, and related shutdowns don’t cause major losses. This is another area where the Internet of Things provides valuable solutions.

Equipment monitoring can alert workers to environmental dangers, allowing them to shut down machines and processes before accidents happen. Body monitoring devices can follow a worker’s vital signs in a challenging working environment like a confined space to prevent them from pushing themselves too hard. Even workers in relatively safe environments can benefit from devices like cameras and sensors that can alert them to dangers or tell them when they’ve been sitting or standing too long.

6. Convenient monitoring

Industrial equipment can operate under intense levels of heat and pressure and may involve electrical or chemical dangers. Traditional monitoring of this equipment, despite being critically important, might put workers at risk. However, IoT devices can be placed in these risky locations to monitor equipment while keeping workers safe. Smart cities can also monitor conditions in their territories in order to improve services and citizen welfare.

Connected smart devices can monitor people in ways that are unobtrusive and don’t interfere with their experiences. These smart monitoring solutions help enterprises learn more about how their systems operate by collecting real-time data. Again, monitoring entities should take into account privacy concerns and informed consent.

7. Enhanced customer experiences

The Internet of Things can be advantageous for customers too. Imagine, a customer walks into a shop and receives an instant message giving them a coupon for their next purchase.

TIoT devices can help companies learn more about how their customers behave, what they want, and how to deliver it. IoT allows companies to make data-driven choices that give their customers the best experiences the company can provide.

8. Accurate analysis

The more data a business collects, the more effective, accurate, and appropriate its decisions can be. Whether this means transportation firms learning how to service their vehicles more effectively or retailers learning about how customers navigate their stores, more accurate data means better decisions.

5 drawbacks of IoT

With all technology come new challenges and risks — the same is true for the Internet of Things. While numerous benefits outweigh its disadvantages, IoT still has drawbacks that businesses should be aware of.

1. Energy requirements

The billions of IoT devices currently in use worldwide need billions of batteries or power outlets to supply them with electricity. A company that wants to set up an extensive network of hundreds or even thousands of these devices will have to plan out how to power them most effectively.

Long-lasting, powerful batteries help, but they need to be charged frequently and replaced occasionally. Direct power supplies require less maintenance than batteries but need an infrastructure that can cost time and money to establish.

2. Dependence

Businesses that invest in IoT systems and devices may gain a lot from using them, but they also risk becoming dependent on them. Companies may reassign or even lay off workers if smart devices can perform their tasks. However, if the devices fail or become compromised, the business might find itself with no one left who can take over the tasks.

The Internet of Things devices themselves are dependent on stable network connections. If they can’t connect, they can’t perform their functions. Therefore, they need a dedicated network infrastructure that companies must constantly build, monitor, and maintain.

3. Security risks

The more connected devices a company has on its network, the more entrance points it offers for malicious actors. IoT attacks are common because few businesses properly monitor or update these devices as often as they should.

Viruses and other malware can enter a company’s network through compromised IoT devices and destroy files, steal data, or even ransom it for large sums. Other attacks, like the Mirai botnet attack, can enslave infected IoT devices, take them away from their proper functions and make them perform DDoS attacks against unsuspecting servers. These risks mean that companies using IoT devices must ramp up their security procedures and keep device firmware updated constantly to protect their networks.

4. Large data sets

While data is power, with billions of devices worldwide collecting billions of bytes of data constantly, this poses both storage and management issues. For companies to use their data effectively, they have to be able to store it. This means they must invest in increased storage capacity, including backup systems. They also have to create new policies to govern the management of their data assets, especially sensitive data, increasing the complexity of their operations.

Big data sets also require more skills to effectively analyze. Managing so much data can mean a steep learning curve for managers and analysts alike.

5. Resistance to change

One often overlooked challenge of using smart devices is that people are wary of them. Most Americans are concerned that their smart devices know too much about them and don’t want to be monitored by even more devices, even if they enjoy living in smart cities.

Employees may also worry that IoT devices will take their jobs, and customers might not trust that IoT devices act in their best interests. It’s an ongoing challenge to use these devices effectively while still maintaining respect for the privacy of employees and customers.

Should I use the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things provides new business opportunities and improved efficiency in processes that used to require human intervention. Internet-connected devices can gather data, monitor processes, and give alerts while increasing efficiency and providing firms with cost-reduction opportunities. Companies can use the data collected to perform advanced analytics to gain new insights and optimize their business systems.

While there are challenges to overcome with the Internet of Things, the benefits are too numerous to ignore. Businesses that don’t start using IoT soon might be left behind, so don’t let yours be one of them.