The Internet of Things (or simply IoT) has plenty useful applications. All of them bet on the good operation and integration of the IoT for many applications ranging from the simplest (domestic use) to the most complex (large-scale industrial use). But in such wide range, is that possible using IoT for SMEs?
Let’s go step by step in that direction, and discover the many applications and advantages of using the IoT in Pymes
IoT for Pymes
Let’s briefly recall what IoT is. IoT is basically a system that compiles data collected from sensors installed in objects to store and interconnect them in an intelligent network through Internet to manage them.
From this perspective, many predictions have been made for large industries and corporations. Undoubtedly, the greatest attraction that the IoT offers is the reduction of costs related to process automation and the usual rebound in customer satisfaction. In short, it offers everything that any businessman dreams of and aspires to improve the global performance and income.
Such same benefits of IoT can be translated and used for SMEs on a more modest scale. In this sense, IoT for SMEs is also perfect for retailers and companies with more moderate capitals as there are also options for this market in smart devices and sensors necessary for the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) link.
Use of IoT in SMEs
First of all, it is good to keep in mind that Big Data and IoT are two sides of the same coin. That is, all the information you gather from the sensors, you need Big Data.
With this wonderful pair, you will have the power to make informed decisions based on the data and actual behaviors collected; and keep them in a historical archive. Let’s see some practical examples.
In retail stores
Every commerce has particular characteristics and intelligent sensors can measure them. So, sensors should be placed at strategic points to know the number of customers that circulate through the facilities; what are the most and less popular products; what kind of customers buy them; etc.
With this information, you will be able to segment your clients and create applications specially thought for them such as promotions or discounts; launch offers for new products; etc. In conclusion, with IoT for SMEs you can design better strategies based on everything that information gives to you.
In warehouses and production lines
Another large space that offers great potential in IoT for SMEs is warehouse management. Sensors are the eye in the sky that also counts and sets every movement in your warehouse and/or in your production line.
In addition, you can program your devices to raise alarms when your merchandise and raw material are running out; and even anticipate your stock replacement needs automatically.
If in addition to store merchandise and/or selling it in a physical store you offer delivery service; this is another great application of IoT for SMEs. Once again, through the sensors you will be able to know the status of shipment or delivery step by step; besides calculating better trajectories for improving final delivery times.
Additionally; you will be able to know more optimal routes for the delivery; training your staff in these details and thereby improving the overall customer experience at less cost.
The creation of intelligent offices begins in the integration of the data from manufacturing, distribution and marketing departments. However, you will appreciate the real application and advance of IoT when you integrate all this data to create new products and services related to your business.
For example, when you use the data obtained from your production line to optimize your processes and training of your staff in them. All of them, in combination with the data collected from the preferences of your customers will give you the final keys to create and launch new products and services.
In preventive maintenance
This is another area where IoT for SMEs stands out and becomes highly attractive. Think how much you will save in the early detection and timely replacement of parts that reach their end of life; or save you from the eternal question at the end of the day: “Did I turned off the air conditioner before leaving?”
In new business models
It turns out that you work in healthcare services, and want to offer a personalized service to accompany your patients beyond the office. Or, you have a SME dedicated to plumbing; or a fleet of cars operating under an Uber type model.
IoT for SMEs offers solutions for these new business models that result in a competitive advantage because it helps you to rethink the dynamics with your clients for example; to remind your ophthalmologic patient that it is time to replace those glasses. This is a simple example of what IoT for SMEs in new business models can do.
And speaking of glasses replacement, you can also use the sensors and Big Data to have a complete vision of the operation and predictive maintenance of spare parts that you use; or to predict when you that pipe you just installed could fail by reviewing its surrounding conditions via application from your cell phone.
These are some of the many applications and advantages of using IoT for SMEs. The premise remains the same: Exploiting niche markets with cutting edge technology that allows you to improve your business model by making informed decisions based on the data that IoT provides you.
Now, it is always good to keep in mind that all technology is vulnerable to attacks; and therefore you need to take into account security as part of your plan. Let’s see your options in this regard.
IoT for SMEs and Digital Security
Security is a fundamental aspect for both, SMEs or large companies. IoT does not escape from vulnerabilities, and as such, you need to take care of every aspect of your IT architecture for the proper deployment and commissioning of your sensors and Big Data programs.
In this sense, you need to take into account aspects of hardware and software associated with your IoT model; and put special emphasis on the types of networks, communications and back-up.
So, if you are already moving into the future by using the IoT for SMEs, it is good that you take inventory of your equipment, software and the type of security with which you will protect them from attacks and vulnerabilities.
In GB Advisors we have plans and strategies tailored to accompany you throughout the process; and we are trained to give you an integral diagnosis in order to correctly deploy your infrastructure. Contact us here to design the plan and advance it to the future that the IoT offers you.