The Internet of Things (aka IoT) is one of those terms that was foreign to a lot of people just a few years ago. But just like “the Cloud,” it has now become mainstream. IoT use is also growing rapidly, especially among businesses looking to automate and improve efficiency.
An IoT device is any device connected to the internet, beyond your standard computers, smartphones, servers, and tablets. IoT devices including smart speakers, like Alexa and Google Home, as well as technology like a smart coffee maker or IP security camera.
It seems that everything is now being connected online to enable more capabilities.
A few statistics that illustrate the growth trajectory of IoT include:
- More than 60% of cities are investing in IoT.
- 90% of Telecom, Media, and Tech executives say IoT is critical to their business growth.
- Over 80% of manufacturers and nearly 90% of retailers are planning to implement more IoT to facilitate business processes and customer experience.
Whether they have a grand IoT plan or not, many Orlando businesses are already using IoT natively on their business network. For example, they may add an IP security camera system or door locks. Many printers are wireless and can also be considered IoT devices.
If you want to implement IoT successfully, it helps to have a plan and the guidance of a trusted IT advisor. That way you can ensure your technology additions are secure and cost-effective.
Are you planning to add IoT into your workplace? Here are several tips to help the transition go smoothly.
Look First at Replacing Repetitive, Manual Processes
You don’t want to add IoT just because it’s cool. For example, a smart whiteboard might be helpful for online collaboration, but if you never use whiteboards during meetings, then it’s not going to offer much efficiency improvement.
A great first step toward IoT that’s going to make an efficiency impact is to look at automating manual processes.
For example, say you have a system where your receptionist needs to stop what they’re doing several times a day to notify someone that a visitor has arrived. If they can’t reach the person by phone, they have to try text or email, taking up even more time.
If you used an electronic sign-in IoT device, visitors could send a notification to a staff member they were there to see automatically via text or another method you choose.
Consider Cost Saving Areas for IoT
If you choose the right IoT, you can end up with ongoing cost savings. Energy-efficient uses of IoT are another great place to start when planning to add IoT to your technology infrastructure.
Using cost-saving IoT, like smart thermostats and smart lighting, can reduce your monthly utility costs and give you more money to invest in other areas of your business.
As an example, the Nest smart thermostat can reduce heating and cooling bills between 10%-15%.
Don’t Ignore IoT Cybersecurity
If cybersecurity isn’t one of the first considerations when implementing IoT, your business could be putting yourself at risk. IoT is often an easy entry point for hackers into a network because it’s often not properly secured.
During the first half of 2019, attacks on IoT devices tripled.
It’s important to include IoT in your IT security strategy and adopt best practices for keeping the devices and your network secure. This includes doing things like:
- Immediately changing the default username and password
- Disabling any unneeded features
- Putting IoT devices on their own “guest” network
- Keeping firmware and software updated regularly
Check Out Alexa for Business
Amazon has taken Alexa from home to office, and it now has an Alexa for Business division.
If you’re unsure how you could best utilize a smart speaker at your workplace, checking out what Amazon has done in this area can give you several helpful ideas.
Some of the areas Alexa is helping at work include:
- Voice commands for meeting reservations and conference calls
- Voice search for contacts and email
- Add calendar items via voice
- Use voice apps for Salesforce and other business apps
Make Sure Your Network is Prepared for IoT Demand
The more devices you connect to your business network to battle for bandwidth, the more problems with the reliability you can have. It’s important to have a network plan that includes expanding your capabilities to handle the connectivity needs for new IoT devices.
If you haven’t already, you may want to consider an upgrade to the next generation of router technology, Wi-Fi 6. It includes much better multi-device handling and capacity for a smoother IoT experience.
Ensure Your IoT Implementation Goes Smoothly!
C Solutions can help your Orlando area business choose, secure, and implement the IoT devices that will be the most helpful to fuel your future growth.
Schedule a free consultation today! Call 407-536-8381 or reach us online.