IoT is trending. Companies invest in new tech...
The impact of the Internet of Things is underestimatedAccording to Gartner, 43% of US, EMEA and South American companies use the Internet of Things solutions or plan to adopt the technology throughout 2016. In case you think the number is relatively small, here are some sobering stats for you. Back in 1999, when NTT released their first bulky smartphones which transmitted data at the speed of 9.6 kbit/s, no one thought 34% of online transactions would soon be made on mobile. Although users spend 90% of their mobile time in apps (versus mobile web browsers), 30% of US financial organizations, for example, do not even have a mobile app. For God’s sake, 25% of American small businesses still operate without a website! Once a company finds a marketing strategy & tools to increase ROI, they opt for it and think it will work forever. The impact of information technology (and the Internet of Things in particular) is huge & could be even bigger – provided enterprises stop being defensive when it comes to innovation. Wake up, guys! IT is one of the few industries that show no signs of decline. By 2020, the global spending on enterprise software, IT and communication services will grow by 10%, 9% and 11%, respectively. Enterprises need to adopt IoT to improve productivity, boost sales, increase customer engagement and simply survive in the digital age – and that’s exactly what forward-thinking businessmen do.
5 reasons to start using IoT technology in business
- Big guys are already there. Although Google’s experience with the Augmented Reality-powered Glass has been somewhat disappointing, the company’s claim to IoT is much bigger than that. In 2015, Google launched Brillo – an operating system for smart home appliances. Brillo is similar to Android and uses the Weave programming language to enable connected gadgets talk to each other. Within a short time ASUS, the famous computer hardware & electronics company worth $ 1.3 billion, announced plans to build a Brillo-based bridge for Smart Home systems. Google also continues to expand its “Works with Nest” initiative, connecting more third-party gadgets to the smart thermostats and alarm clocks. Another example comes from Apple. The company launched the HomeKit Internet of Things platform to integrate home appliances into the iOS environment & orchestrate them through Siri. HomeKit currently powers the Elgato Eve Room sensor, iDevices Switch, Insteon Hub Pro and several other gadgets. The list of corporations that invest in IoT & so far have no regrets about it wouldn’t be complete without Intel (they built a chip-based platform to bring IoT parts together), Microsoft (its Azure IoT platform is used by over 5 million enterprises worldwide) and IBM (the company ended up investing $ 3 billion in the Internet of Things projects). If these companies didn’t see IoT’s potential, they wouldn’t spend a dime on it;
- It’s working. We’ve already told you about the use of Internet of Things in education, healthcare and tourism. Now let’s talk about retail – an industry where the return of investment is much easier to track. Macy’s, the largest American department store company, uses beacons to trigger sales and increase customer loyalty. Beacons are small IoT gadgets that connect to smartphones via Bluetooth to improve in-store navigation and deliver valuable content (like shopping tips and digital coupons) to customers. Last December Macy’s online sales reached $ 1 billion, with mobile driving 50% of the traffic. This year beacons will directly influence $ 44.4 billion worth of sales. Lord & Taylor went even further. The luxury department store chain rolled out beacons to all of its 50 locations and now uses the Swirl platforms to analyze IoT-generated data to get a better insight into customer buying behavior. And retail is just the tip of the iceberg;
- IoT is evolving. In order to reduce smart gadgets’ manufacturing costs, tech companies often buy cheap processors & neglect security standards – and this could lead to serious consequences. Two years ago, for example, security experts uncovered the first major IoT cyberattack caused by “thingbots” (several malware-infected TV sets, fridges and other connected gadgets generated almost a million spam emails). Also, the Internet of Things is company-driven and therefore largely fragmented. Once you get an iOS-powered smart gadget, you’ll stick to Apple anyway (connected devices made by different manufactures seldom talk to each other). Still, the Internet of Things environment is getting better. IBM, Google and other IT tycoons are currently working on universal IoT security standards. Invoxia, a promising tech company from France, managed to take Alexa to a non-Amazon device. In the near future we’ll certainly hear more IoT success stories – with all the money & dedicated developer teams, the Internet of Things concept simply can’t go wrong;
- Innovation helps you retain employees. The Bring Your own Device trend continues to shape the future of workplace: in less than 6 months 50% of US employees will use their own PCs, smartphones and wearables for work purposes. Millennials are to blame (these guys are the largest US labor force now). As a responsible employer, you need to make sure the business apps you use run seamlessly on any gadget out there (and it’s also desirable to synchronize the gadgets in question). By the way, how do they call millennials? That’s right, job hoppers. It costs your company $15-20 thousand to replace one millennial worker – and that’s a financial disaster in the long run (considering the fact an average Gen Y stays with an employer for only 12 months). Recent studies show millennial employees worship companies that contribute to a better world and grow innovation. Whether you develop IoT water management solutions or simply use a smart office system in the workplace, being innovative certainly increases your chances of winning millennial employees’ hearts (and commitment);
- The Internet of Things is totally affordable. As of now, IoT is fragmented & often insecure. In case you wonder why Google, Apple and IBM failed to create a stable connected environment, here’s an interesting fact for you. By 2017, 50% of all IoT solutions on the market will be created by startups – probably your rivals who came up with a bright idea & raised some money through Kickstarter. Let’s make it clear outright: with multiple ready-to-use IoT platforms, inexpensive printed sensors and cloud-based data storage facilities, building software for the Internet of Things is totally affordable (if you cannot hire a US-based vendor, you can always outsource software development to Eastern Europe). Anyway, financial constraints must not hold back innovation. The internet of Things offers clear benefits for businesses. Unless you embrace the technology today, your competitors will outperform you tomorrow.