Internet of Things (IoT) is highly being discussed in recent years. IoT is nothing else but internet-connected devices that impact life both at work at home. And, tech-savvy consumers are either already used to it or at least aware of it. This is the result of continuous advancements in technology, especially smart technologies. You might be thinking that it’s meant for those who have the budget but let me make it clear that IoT is making even the small businesses and startups to run efficiently.
Let’s discuss the technical devices and applications for SMB’s and startups that IoT offers:
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Voice Assistant –
The uses of voice/conversational user interfaces (voice UI) is booming, and, a recent study from Juniper Research has found that the adoption of voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant will be a crucial factor behind smart home growth, with 275 million voice-assistant devices used to control smart homes by 2023. We may only be at an early-adopter stage, but there is a lot of potential in voice UIs.
These devices basically consist of a speaker, a microphone and most importantly, an embedded intelligent voice assistant. Yes, as the name suggests, it’s your assistant that has already been enabled by IoT on your phones, computers and smart speakers. Both startups and small businesses can immediately take advantage of available voice assistant IoT based solutions (Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri) by linking them to the task management systems, calendar or notes.
A recent study from Juniper Research has found that the adoption of voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant will be a crucial factor behind smart home growth, with 275 million voice-assistant devices used to control smart homes by 2023.
These voice assistants are capable of controlling most of the IoT devices. This frees up time for business owners to focus on other important things like business strategies or issues. It’s believed that over the next five years, the voice assistant is going to be an integral part of business operations as they are the most efficient and accurate IoT applications available today.
IoT technology is all set to give you the best services. Yes, using IoT, you can now have end-to-end visibility into shipping. With the help of IoT devices fed into transportation management and supply chain platforms, you can get all the critical information at various stages of shipping. Based on the sensitivity of the product, you can continuously monitor temperature, humidity, shock, and vibration level during shipment.
Hence, it helps small businesses to reduce supply chain costs. Not only this, but it also reduces buyers’ cost as there would be no spoiled goods due to proper maintenance during shipment.
As the name suggests, this lock provides security to your locks as they are less vulnerable to theft or loss. This smart lock makes it convenient for small businesses to manage access to a building from any device and make sure that the building is opened and closed at the right times. It has a unique access code that allows the business owner to manage and track everyone who enters the building. This lock is more effective when used in conjunction with cameras and alarms.
You or your employee need not be there in person to allow visitors, workers or delivery people to enter the building. Even if your employee loses the key, you may avoid major security risks with the help of this smart lock as this lock can also be controlled by phones or other devices.
Security cameras have been in use for decades and are now becoming less expensive. They are even more powerful when used along with smart locks. It allows business owners to monitor areas like offices, warehouses, and more without the need of any server or storage devices as the footage is saved over the cloud. They don’t even need cables as they rely on Wi-Fi for internet connection. As long as they have a power connection, you can place them wherever you want.
Mobile Card Readers:
These mobile card readers as the name suggests are meant to accept payment through credit and debit cards. The introduction of these card readers has not only helped businesses reduce accounting errors but has also made it convenient for customers to just carry the card. This reduced the need for cash, thereby reducing the risk of theft.
As a coin has two sides, these mPOS (mobile point-of-sale) devices and systems also have the risk of hacking and fraud. So it’s advised to keep your system up-to-date and protect it with firewall, authentication, and passwords.
Inventory Management System:
Today there are many startups and small businesses that are using barcodes and IoT devices in combination with radio-frequency identification (RFID) scanners to create smart stores. These smart stores have sensors and cameras that allow you to manage remote and centralized inventory including automated restocking.
It’s even predicted that in the near future there will be IoT robotic carts who will completely automate delivery.
Smart Lighting and HVAC:
IoT connected smart lighting system helps businesses in saving energy for up to 90 percent. You can control these smart lights from mobile phones or other smart devices.
Similarly, IoT-enabled HVAC (heating/ventilation/air-conditioning) products can result in significant energy cost savings. All these products use sensors to determine whether the rooms are occupied or empty and adjusts lighting, heating, cooling accordingly.
Technology has always been and will continuously advance to make impossible things possible. These are some available applications that IoT has to offer small businesses and startups. And, with the advancement in technology, IoT is also introducing new applications all the time. So, it’s time you see what IoT has to offer your business and take advantage. Just make sure that the benefit aligns with your business objectives and goals.
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