Most businesses today understand the importance of digital data. It’s your company’s most valuable resource, but like any resource, it’s only as good as your ability to use it. The Internet of Things (IoT) can help you use it more effectively.
You’re probably already familiar with IoT in the form of smart home gadgets and wearables like smartwatches. There are also many business-grade IoT devices, from wireless location trackers to connected robots and maintenance sensors. Here’s how these technologies are improving data sharing and collection for small businesses.
Real-time data exchange
“Smart devices automatically collect data and send it to the appropriate parties as soon as it is available.”
One of the biggest advantages of IoT is its efficiency. Manual data collection and entry is slow, backward 76% of small business workers spending up to three hours a day on these problems. In contrast, IoT devices collect and share data in real time.
Without IoT, you’d have to collect data from a sensor, survey, or document, copy that information into a spreadsheet or similar recordkeeping system, and then share those files via email or the cloud. As businesses collect more and more data, this is quickly becoming a huge time sink. With IoT, smart devices automatically collect data and send it to the appropriate parties as it becomes available.
These time savings give employees more time to spend on more pressing tasks. Accessing the data immediately after the devices are assembled also allows for a faster response to them, making this information more useful.
Another way IoT improves data sharing for small businesses is through remote access. In addition to automatically collecting and sharing data, IoT devices make this information available via Bluetooth, the Internet, or other wireless technologies.
This wireless connection allows you to see information about a site, process or equipment without having to travel there. This is particularly useful for enterprises monitoring a wide network of assets, such as supply chain organizations or utility companies. You and your business partners can see relevant data or manage IoT-connected devices in real time, no matter how far away you are.
With modern IoT connectivity standards, you don’t have to sacrifice speed for remote access either. IoT standards such as 5G provide speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second and sub-second delays, ensuring there is no lag between your controls and the IoT device’s response.
Reduced human error
“Because IoT automatically records and sends data, it prevents errors and the losses they cause.”
Using IoT to collect and share data also eliminates concerns about human error. Manual data entry is error-prone because of the human error rate takes about 1% in most cases and grows rapidly with larger and more complex data sets. While that may not sound like much, 1% of a large enough data set represents a significant amount of information, especially over long periods of time.
Businesses also have to go back and correct each of these mistakes, which takes time. If you do not solve these errors, you can act on the basis of inaccurate data, which will lead to significant losses. These errors from poor quality data spend $15 million a year On average.
Because IoT automatically records and sends data, it prevents errors and the losses they cause. Small businesses can then be confident that the information they base their decisions on is accurate.
On-device analytics and edge computing
Data by itself doesn’t do much for companies. You need to act on this information for it to be valuable, and IoT can enhance these actions as well.
In addition to collecting data, some IoT devices can analyze it automatically. Predictive maintenance is one of the most common and beneficial examples of this on-device analysis. IoT sensors record information about the vehicle’s health and analyze it in real time to detect when equipment may need repair. Then they automatically alert you to fix it, reducing maintenance costs by 25% and prevent 70% of malfunctions.
As this technology evolves, IoT devices can go one step further and enable edge computing. Edge computing distributes computing tasks to IoT devices to operate closer to the data source, boosting response time and reducing latency. This technology could be crucial for things like self-driving cars and smart factories.
“When all the devices in your workplace can connect and communicate, everyday activities become less time-consuming and more convenient.”
Most of these IoT benefits center around sharing data within a company and with partners, but sharing data between different devices is also important. IoT connectivity allows you to create networks where all your endpoints share their data. That connectivity means you can extend automation to new heights.
Imagine a manufacturing workflow where each robot communicates with the others via IoT. When someone has a problem, it can alert others in real time. Other robots can then adapt to this data to account for the problem, ensuring that a small disruption does not cause widespread problems in the facility. That flexibility makes automation much more practical.
When all the devices in your workplace can connect and communicate, everyday activities become less time-consuming and more convenient. Experts predict there will be more than 29 billion IoT-connected devices globally by 2030, so these interconnected ecosystems will become more viable.
Harness the potential of your data with IoT technology
Succeeding as a business today means making the most of your data. As these five improvements demonstrate, IoT is the way to do it. If you can effectively deploy IoT devices, you can use your data faster, more accurately, and for a wider range of uses.
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