05 Jun What the Internet of Things Means for Business
It seems like a new tech startup launches an internet-connected device to consumers every single day. Almost all modern electronic devices you buy today come with Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity. While this growing Internet of Things is undeniably useful in terms of efficiencies and automation, it is essential to think about what this means for business owners who must deal with a growing number of connected devices in the office.
What is the Internet of Things?
Simply put, the Internet of Things refers to any device that requires internet access to do its job. This list includes software applications on a PC, but also watches that analyze your daily activity and smart speakers that alert you when a package has been delivered. As The Guardian explains, it doesn’t stop there:
IoT is more than smart homes and connected appliances, however. It scales up to include – think of that monitor utility use, or smart bins that signal when they need to be emptied – and industry, with connected sensors for everything from tracking parts to monitoring crops.
In the workplace, the Internet of Things now plays a significant role. Enterprise climate control systems are now operated through cloud-connected software. Package delivery notifications are standard with many major suppliers and carriers. Even the TVs that hang on conference room walls connect to the internet.
The Internet of Things has already transformed business operations, but we’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg. Forbes reports many other innovations that are just around the corner:
Inventory management: Anyone who has spent a workday or week counting widgets will appreciate the beauty of the IoT for inventory management. Smart devices will ultimately be able to track inventory automatically.
Consumer demands: Consumers will get used to smart devices and begin to expect “smart” behavior in all aspects of their lives. Inventors will have a field day coming up with new gadgets, furniture, appliances and more that meet this new demand and offer a new source of revenue for businesses.
Learn from the data: The volumes of data generated from smart devices help businesses learn how and what to innovate for the biggest impact.
As dozens (or hundreds) of devices within your office walls connect to the Web, a great deal of bandwidth is consumed. Therefore it’s crucial to have a superior business internet service that can meet this demand for data. If your data provider cannot support your team’s upload and download demands, it can bring productivity to a screeching halt.
As a business owner, you must consider both business and personal devices that employees use.
- PC workstations
- Tablet computers
- Smart speakers
- Bluetooth headsets
- Conference room TVs
- Security systems
Video streaming is one of the biggest bandwidth bandits. While it’s easy to think of video streaming merely in terms of YouTube or Netflix, businesses use this technology every day:
- Conference calls
- Online training videos
- Consumer research
- Digital marketing campaigns
With so many devices performing an array of vital functions, high-quality business internet service is one of the most important resources you can obtain.
For business owners, security must be a top priority. You deal with vital records and sensitive customer information daily, and protecting this data is crucial. Cybersecurity means keeping the information secure but also protecting the privacy of your clients. A leading software developer, Malwarebytes, points out that manufacturers of connected devices don’t always prioritize cybersecurity: “Unlike mobile phones, tablets, and desktop computers, little-to-no protections have been created for these operating systems. Why? Building security into a device can be costly, slow down development, and sometimes stand in the way of a device functioning at its ideal speed and capacity.”
To keep all of these devices safe and working correctly, you need strong IT support. This safeguard includes securing your internet connection, of course, but also safeguarding your internal data and voice network.
Potential risks include:
- Malicious audio/video monitoring
- Password attacks
- Session hijacking
Having a comprehensive IT strategy helps prevent mishaps, and decrease response time when a breach occurs. Your IT road map must plan for 24/7/365 monitoring to stop viruses, hackers, and spyware before they reach your servers and devices.