The age of the Internet is in full force. This has led to a new phenomenon called the Internet of Things (IoT), which has the capacity to influence the global economy by between $2.7 trillion and $6.2 trillion by 2025, according to respected institutions such as the McKinsey Global Institute.
For a better understanding of what the phenomenon is all about, one only has to look at the number of devices, cloud infrastructure, sensors, tools used in determining business intelligence and data that are available in today’s world. However, owners of small businesses must evaluate how these devices and data will affect them on a personal, rather than a global, level.
Merely running a business is no longer an option for serious business owners. The focus is now on running a thriving business. More than two-thirds of small businesses surveyed in the US believe that IoT will present them with more opportunities going forward.
However, the survey also indicated that more than 50 percent of all small business owners in the US do not fully understand what IoT means. The vast majority of the business owners believe that IoT simply refers to the ability to connect various devices and use them to communicate while running a business. The truth is that IoT is more than connecting devices to share data.
Before small businesses are convinced to embrace IoT, they need an assurance regarding the security of the whole process. Many small business owners are convinced that IoT will expose their operations to hacking and other security breaches, which will not bode well for their businesses.
More importantly, it is worth noting that IoT endeavors to direct small business owners to the innumerable opportunities they have to enjoy access to more customers. Marketing is also a very big beneficiary of the IoT.
As much as small businesses understand the importance of IoT, they are a bit hesitant to embrace it fully for a variety of reasons as listed below.
The best way of reassuring small businesses that IoT will benefit them is through the creation of more secure applications. The applications must be able to provide tangible, visible and very effective solutions to the problems encountered by small businesses. Some of the solutions that IoT should address include:
It is worth noting that 18 percent of all connected devices found in all small businesses are mobile. The number is expected to grow to 27 percent by 2020. However, small businesses are not making proper use of analytics to collect larger amounts of data and increase profits. Currently, small businesses are suffering from analytic immaturity, at a time when the predictive and prescriptive nature of analytics should be more helpful to them.
The conclusion is that IoT is not a thing of the future. It is here now and here to stay. Small businesses must now shift their focus from the current ways of running business to embrace IoT. Yes, IoT tackles the connectivity of several devices, but this is only one aspect. At the heart of the “Internet of Things”, is the improvement of business operations and the potential for increased revenues when used effectively.