IoT Usage In Business
Small businesses typically do not utilize the latest technology available. A 2018 report showed that only about half of small businesses had a website. Recently, another report showed 44% are considering an IoT for small business in 2020.
By comparison, a study of consumers showed nearly all looked for small businesses online. Additionally, about half compared businesses online before making a decision .
- Owners should consult with experts
- ROI is consistently higher than expected
- Customers demand new ways of doing business online
Small businesses that did invest in advanced digital solutions earned twice as much revenue per employee. Additionally, they multiplied their revenue growth over 3 times from the previous year .
So why the discrepancy? If the goal is to make profits, then it would seem these solutions are relevant to all businesses.
The main barrier to IoT for small business is the owner’s awareness of potential benefits. Unfortunately, many owners do not take the time to fully understand the possibilities of IoT.
Relevance of IoT in Small Business
At first, the comparison of a company like Amazon to a local pizzeria may seem trivial. But upon closer inspection, the two share similar general practices. Ease of ordering, delivery scheduling, inventory management and finances are tasks both companies manage.
The difference is that Amazon is too big to do all these things manually. Conversely, a local pizzeria might not think an IoT for small business is cost efficient.
Even so, IoT for small business can automate many tasks while also providing a better experience to customers. In fact, 80% of businesses that have adopted an IoT solution experience a higher ROI than originally estimated .
IoT for small business can automate or enhance general business practices in the following examples:
1) Hierarchical Structuring
A role based structure can secure assets with IoT devices. With internet connected smart locks, owners do not have to worry about previous employees keeping keys. Also, managers can grant access to service workers remotely if needed.
A digital hierarchy can also secure access to sensitive data. Furthermore, this also allows companies to branch as they scale. White-label branding at any level keeps the company image consistent while opening franchise opportunities.
2) Custom Alerts
Almost any solution is possible with the variety of sensors available today. Then, user defined thresholds can automate alerts based on various situations.
For instance, a text alert could notify staff if wait times get too long. Likewise, an alert could notify a manager once the cash till reaches a certain amount.
3) Dashboard Monitoring
Powerful analytics can sort the data gathered by IoT devices in the field. Then, the most relevant information can update live on a dashboard.
This gives owners the ability to see operations at any given moment. With real time information, owners can act in the moment. This can stop waste before it happens, prevent further damage of equipment, or correct a behavior.
4) Map View Capability
GPS is the center of many IoT for small business solutions. When combined with a battery, GPS devices today are inexpensive. Compact and portable they can also go months without needing maintenance.
The solutions enabled by GPS devices today are endless. Location data can give customers new options for doing business. Or, simply improve their experience. Geo-fence based alerts can make sure that drivers or goods are where they should be. Also, drivers’ historical routes can help improve future efficiency.
5) Custom Analytics
A common theme of these IoT for small business solutions is analytics. Data gathered by IoT devices allows business owners to identify trends and become more efficient.
Custom analytics software allows small business owners to interact with their data intuitively. Owners can generate reports automatically based on various factors. Furthermore, they can drag and drop to combine reports and cross compare with additional factors. No query language necessary.
6) Device Management
Business owners may be concerned with upgrade costs. However, they can usually keep existing equipment. IoT sensors can retrofit current equipment inexpensively. When ready to upgrade, a platform like Bridgera’s Digital Twin can help. It can simulate how new equipment will work before purchase. This can help predict compatibility issues and avoid potential pain points.
A central IoT platform manages all connected devices. By combining all data available, the IoT for small business can become more than the sum of its parts.
IoT for Small Business Examples
Bridgera helps small business owners understand the possibilities of IoT. Every business operates differently and has different goals. That is why Bridgera works closely with owners to create a wholistic solution. Often, owners are surprised by how complete an end to end solution can be.
The following are examples of projects that Bridgera provided.
1) Logistics Solution for Waste Removal
Bridgera partnered with a waste removal company to create an end to end solution for them. Now, their customers can download an app to schedule directly. The operators have visibility of drivers on a map. And, the platform plans the routes based on efficiency and traffic patterns.
2) Auto-Notification for Call Center
A call center approached Bridgera to help implement a notification system. The system automatically sends notifications via text, email and push notification for events. This automation notifies their customers immediately. It also reduces false alarm reports. Thus, keeping operators available to take action on immediate threats.
3) Telehealth App for Research Clinic
Previously, participants of this research study had to attend the clinic daily for testing. This was an inconvenience for many participants. The clinic turned to Bridgera for a telehealth solution. Bridgera was able to refer a third party sensor for their test. The sensor was inexpensive enough to provide to each participant. Then, Bridgera created an app that met the confidentiality standards of the study to report the data.
4) Industrial Monitoring for Textiles
A manufacturer of N-95 masks sought to reduce waste and increase production with Bridgera’s help. Sensors were used to connect their existing equipment to an IoT cloud. With this new data, manufacturing will automatically stop as soon as an issue is detected. Now, quality management is performed in real-time.
Turn-Key IoT Solutions
Not all use cases have such specific requirements, though. Many small businesses can benefit from a generic IoT for small business solution. In fact, most partners start their IoT journey with an off-the-shelf solution. Further customization is always possible once an owner has an opportunity to see the ROI of the solution.
These ready made solutions have the advantage of faster delivery times. Also, their turn-key nature means they are more economical. The following are some examples of ready to go IoT for small business solutions.
This solution is useful for any business with logistic needs. A simple app gives drivers the ability to turn on and off their location during work hours. The platform allows a remote operator to manage the drivers with a map view. Also, companies can choose to share their drivers’ location with customers for increased visibility.
As the practice of telehealth spreads, this tool gives healthcare practices the ability to remain competitive with large firms. Importantly, it gives even single physician practices a HIPPA secure platform to engage patients on. The solution also offers scheduling, payment processing, medication reminders, and more.
Safety should be every employer’s number one priority. As a result, Bridgera developed a PERS button. It allows technicians in the field to call for help with a single press. In particular, this solution is both faster and more accurate than calling 911 in an emergency.
Small Business Considerations
The discrepancy between customers and businesses that use internet technology is huge. Consumers demand more and easier options from businesses than ever before. The simple presence of a website can win a sale by comparison. Moreover, IoT for small business have proven ROI for early adopters .
Not all business owners are experts in technology. That is why owners should consult with experts before dismissing an IoT for small business solution. Bridgera offers free consultations to evaluate your small business. Even if it just means learning about a new technology, there is nothing to lose.
With so much potential to gain, why not consider an IoT for small business solution by Bridgera? Use the experience of our solutions experts to create a custom solution to fit your small business’s needs. The key to success is indeed in finding the relevant solution. Let Bridgera help. Contact us today.