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Internet of Things: How to improve the efficiency of small businesses?

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-01 Click:90

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the hot topics in today's business world, and whether you are a small or medium-sized company, you need to learn about it as early as possible. Although this concept may seem overly complex and vague, like most problems, it becomes easier to understand when you break it down into several basic elements.

What is the Internet of Things?

Generally speaking, the Internet of Things has a goal: to connect all physical places and things in the world to the Internet. By doing so, it will help companies of all sizes improve their systems and processes, increase efficiency, and even open the door to new products, services, and business models.

How does the Internet of Things work?

The "things" that connect to the Internet can be divided into three categories:

1. Things for collecting and sending information

2. Things that receive and process information

3. Combining both

Collect and Send - In this category, you will find that sensor devices can detect temperature, motion, light, air quality, humidity, or other environmental conditions. Sensors like this can report the temperature of refrigerators in commercial kitchens, motion sensors in fleet operations, and even humidity levels in storage locations, as connected items require a certain humidity range.

Receiving and Action - Collecting and transmitting sensors to forward their information to the receiving and action system, which is typically built into a monitoring and analysis system to inform designated personnel of specific actions that need to be taken. For example, in a commercial kitchen, if the collection and transmission sensors of the refrigerator identify a temperature issue, the receiving and action sensors will inform designated personnel of the issue. In this way, even if they are not in the kitchen, the person receiving the alarm can quickly take action to help reduce losses and ensure compliance with any local food safety regulations.

Collecting, sending, receiving, and taking action - those things that involve both collecting information and taking action based on it involve a more comprehensive form of the Internet of Things, allowing the system to make appropriate self adjustments and greatly reduce human intervention. An example could be an agricultural operation where sensors collect information about soil moisture and automatically turn on the irrigation system when needed. Furthermore, a system like this can provide weather forecast information, so it "knows" that even if the soil moisture is not ideal, there is no need for immediate irrigation because it is going to rain.

The benefits of the Internet of Things

Although many small and medium-sized enterprises are ready to embrace the Internet of Things, others are not very clear about their position - it's okay. Because the value of new technologies is not always obvious and not always within budget, before adopting them yourself, look at the success of others. So far, some of the benefits that business owners have seen in the Internet of Things include:

Operational efficiency - As sensors can provide 24/7 monitoring, companies can track performance and key indicators to ensure the normal operation of equipment. Moreover, once a problem arises, the enterprise can carry out repairs or maintenance and minimize the significant interruptions caused by serious equipment problems.

Improving Security - By using data provided by sensors, the Internet of Things can help you detect and reduce the threats to your business caused by temperature fluctuations, power outages, water ingress, and other potential destructive events. In addition, if you use sensors at doors, windows, and other possible entrances, IoT sensors can also alert you to intrusion caused by unauthorized access.

Cost saving - Saving money is usually the top priority for every business owner, and the Internet of Things may be helpful. For example, by allowing you to monitor power consumption more carefully, you can find new ways to save energy. By reducing or eliminating the need for human intervention, you can give your employees more time to focus on higher priority projects.

Examples from the real world

Nowadays, almost every industry enterprise has seen the positive impact of the Internet of Things. Therefore, regardless of whether you have decided or started using the Internet of Things, the following examples can help you understand why and how the Internet of Things adds value to your business:

Fleet operators can use IoT sensors to track and monitor vehicles, vehicle speeds, scheduled and actual arrival times, and determine when preventive maintenance is required. The Internet of Things can also help simplify regulatory compliance for electronic logging and reporting.

Delivery or distribution centers can use connected robots and drones equipped with sensors to conduct inventory checks and map them to accurate locations. Alternatively, sensors on equipment such as forklifts can detect the location of equipment or personnel, allowing for a basic view of the surrounding corners, creating a safer workplace.

Large car dealerships can equip each vehicle with sensors to monitor their location and status in real-time, helping to track inventory and where their vehicles are, in case salespeople need sensors for test drives.

In the parking lot, sensors or video analysis at each location can provide real-time information on open locations, as well as whether vehicles in the garage are authorized to be there and whether each vehicle has correctly paid the fees when leaving.

Smart factories can use production line sensor monitors to notify management when problems arise, or directly communicate with robots to automatically adjust assembly lines according to real-time needs.

In office buildings, sensor based locks can be remotely activated or deactivated, which helps with overall security, especially in crisis situations.

These are just a small part of the current and potential uses of the Internet of Things. With the development and further adoption of this technology, various industries will undoubtedly develop their own applications to improve efficiency and reduce costs for this technology. But there's no need to wait. Today's network is easy to handle IoT solutions, and with the launch of powerful 5G and LORA (remote) networks, even demanding IoT use cases can be easily handled.