Internet of Things is the network of connected devices that communicate with each other to exchange data. These devices are those embedded with electronics and sensors that are run by certain software. Their connections are made through the “cloud” or simply the Internet, and they “talk” to each other by exchanging and interpreting data to produce useful information.
These devices are often referred to as “intelligent” or “smart” because they seem to “think” on their own and be of greater use than their ordinary, previous counterparts.
Let’s say for example a smart traffic camera. Its job is to monitor the road for traffic congestions, vehicular accidents, or ongoing activities like construction works. It sends the status of the road through a gateway that is also used by other smart traffic cameras spread throughout the area.
These pieces of data are analyzed once they reached the traffic management center which then sends traffic advisory through all available channels – radio, television, traffic boards, navigation apps, etc. to spread the useful information. Most systems are even connected to other systems used in an area to maximize the benefits of IoT.
The functions and uses of IoT are enormous and as time and technology progress, so do the innovations that make it better. These are instrumental in its recognition as a catalyst for progress.
Because of this, IoT has been widely adopted and integrated into different facets of human activity since its introduction in the market. From business, education, healthcare, agriculture, and many more, IoT continues to be invaluable in making these fields better.
In business, the use of IoT technology is monumental. It has transformed business models and operations to a more robust and effective manner. It’s no doubt that the IoT market will continue to grow exponentially in the coming years.
If you own a business and you’re interested in how IoT technology can help you, you should know first for certain if such technology will fit you. We have three ways to do it.
1. Size of business
The size of the business can be determined by a lot of factors which is also dependent upon specific situations. But generally speaking, you can say if a business is small, medium, or large based on these four factors:
The Number of Employees
Usually, the more employees/workers a business has, the bigger it is. This is because you need manpower to run all the different tasks for a business to operate.
But since there has been a massive transformation of business models over the years, many of these processes are now handled by machines and technology rather than people, and so some businesses may have fewer human workers but can still be considered big. Nevertheless, the number of employees is still a good determiner of a business’s size.
A business can also be considered small or big with regards to its scope of operation relative to location. A certain business can be considered big if it has multiple operating branches but at the same time small if they are located in a certain area only.
On the other hand, a business can be considered small if it has few operating outlets in an area but can also be big if its scope spans to greater locations.
The size of a business can also be determined by the number of needs it fulfills in the market. Bigger market share usually means bigger business but like other factors, it is still dependent on situations. Sometimes, a business can still be big despite not being a market leader.
If a business will be valued and sold, the total market value will give you an idea of how big or small it is. For some, this is the easiest way to determine the size of the business.
Given these considerations, you have to think if adopting these smart devices or machines will complement the needs of your business, or if your business really has those needs in the first place. Ask yourself if your business is in need of IoT technology for its growth and expansion or if it is needed to fill the gap in your business operation that your employee cannot do or is already excessive.
2. Cost of Acquisition
In this context, it is the total amount paid for acquiring or buying these devices. Typically, technology is always relatively expensive and these devices can really cost high with respect to quantity, quality, and sophistication.
Determine if you have the capacity to buy the needed IoT technology. These devices are continuously improved and integrated with a lot of functions so you also have to look at how you can make the best out of your purchase.
Make sure also that the cost of acquiring these devices will be absorbed evenly by the business and will not negatively affect its operations. Ultimately, the return on investment should justify the cost of such technology.
3. Cost of Operation
Sometimes, businesses make faulty decisions by acquiring technology without securing the expertise it requires. This includes the operation on a day-to-day basis and maintenance. In the case of big companies with more complex operations, IoT technologies will require bigger technical support from software engineers, technicians, and system security personnel.
It is important that these devices are protected from tampering and hacking. For smaller businesses, it’s also a challenge to operate these devices if the user’s lack of inclination to technology is met with the device’s complexity. Getting how much will it cost you to hire a professional to operate the tech, its maintenance, and security will help you decide if a certain technology will suit you.
Adopting IoT technology is a promising business decision, especially now that our world has already embraced “smart” behavior. It should not mean though that it should be openly accepted without weighing its pros and cons to your business.
Just because it serves good to others doesn’t mean it will do the same to you. Remember that different systems and different technologies answer different problems and fit in different environments.