For many organisations, the Internet of Things remains a very abstract concept, and they might not see the real implications it could have on their line of business. But people who understand these repercussions, and how the IoT could end up completely transforming things like supply chain and fleet management, analytics, sales, and marketing, will always have an edge on the competition, no matter what field they’re in. This is why it’s important for business owners and leaders to understand the real impact the IoT is already having on the world of business, so they can be better adapted for the upcoming changes. Here are some of the real and tangible impacts of the IoT on the business world, and what they could mean for the future.
Online learning is already changing the way talent is formed and pooled, and reputable institutions like Aston University offer online business degree programmes employees can follow while maintaining their current positions. Through the use of wearable devices like smart glasses or connected VR helmets, we can expect the IoT to turn the world of education on its head, and could even one day render traditional education completely obsolete.
Business is already a subject that is perfectly suited for online learning, but could be even more so when tools like augmented reality or virtual reality come into play. Being able to take students to the shop floor virtually, or have them conduct mock interviews with virtual candidates, could make the courses even more immersive and effective.
Online classes can be taken from any setting, and through most mobile devices, which is one of the main reasons why they’re soaring in popularity right now. This is also the perfect solution for the new agile workforce, which brings us to our next point.
The IoT and the Agile Workplace
A change is coming, and the workplace of tomorrow will be completely different than what it is today. This new wave of employees don’t only demand a more agile workplace – they are expecting it.
They want more flexibility in their schedules, and their choices of work setting. And all of this is made possible thanks to the IoT. Agile workplaces largely rely on employees being able to bring and use their own devices, which brings its share of opportunities and challenges. Employees can now access task boards in real time from wherever they are and work on projects without constant supervision. They can reserve their spot at a hot desk and see which workstations are available at the touch of a button. They can also collaborate with each other better using third party solutions.
However, BYOD1 policies come with their share of risks. One of the biggest is the risk for data leaks breaches. Data breaches cost businesses millions of pounds every year, and are becoming harder to monitor and prevent. And data breaches are not always the result of a malicious attack; you also have to factor in things like devices lost or damaged.
In other cases, the devices themselves might be compromised by sketchy apps. These might seem innocuous on the surface, but some malicious apps could be used for things like remote monitoring for instance, or could compromise some important data on the user’s phone. These are all things businesses will have to look out for and consider when implementing their own BYOD policies.
The Impact of the IoT on the Healthcare Industry
One of the industries that is set to be completely transformed by the IoT is the healthcare field. And the possibilities are very promising. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that the healthcare IoT will reach a whopping $71 billion USD by 2021.
Internet connected devices are set to transform the way disease is diagnosed and managed. This could be a godsend for people living in remote areas, or those needing assisted care. Tools could be used to monitor a person’s symptoms at a distance, check for progress or deterioration, and prescriptions to be adjusted accordingly. Telehealth devices even allow doctors to check for vital signs and things like blood sugar levels from wherever they are.
IoT can also be used on the floor for a variety of purposes. It can be used to provide better monitoring of patients, and make sure that staffing resources are used correctly. Tools could be used to check inventory, or monitor equipment for maintenance or replacement.
All businesses will be able to benefit from the advanced IoT enabled inventory management tools available. Wireless sensors attached to products in a warehouse allow employees to keep track of those that might need to be re-stocked or re-manufactured fast and easily. Alerts can be set for various departments automatically. And reporting tools allow you to keep track of performance using sensing and other monitoring tools.
Fleet management technology allows to not only keep track of shipments, but driver behaviour as well. Monitoring tools allow fleet managers to look at your drivers’ driving habits down to the last detail.
They can see things like idle time, average speed, or even things like violent breaking, and bring employees in for disciplinary action or training. These tools also allow fleet managers to compare drivers with each other, and get a quick snapshot of which ones are doing a better job. This could be a great tool if you want to incentivise good performance. You could reward good drivers with real incentives based on actual performance, and not preferences. These tools could not only help improve performance, but have a deeply transformative effect on your company’s culture.
The Internet of Things is, and will continue to have, a profound impact on all businesses. No matter which field you are in, or how tech forward your business is, you will feel the repercussions one way or the other. So, we strongly suggest that you pay caution to the wind, and see how you could use some of the innovations it will offer to benefit your own operation.