More than Your Toaster: The Internet of Things for SMEs
Whenever the Internet of Things (IoT) is discussed, it’s usually its implementation in your home or an enterprise-level setup. But what not a lot of small business owners realize is that having a properly configured IoT system can be the secret to your success.
While it may require a sizeable investment at first, implementing an IoT system with a reliable wireless broadband solution is worth it. It can help you save time, money, and effort in the long run. In fact, you may be already using some of it in your business already—you just haven’t realized it yet.
Below are some of the basic applications of the Internet of Things for an SME.
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Basic Applications: Automating Routine Processes
Let’s say you’re operating a small retail outlet in your neighborhood, with three full-time employees and two part-time ones. This definitely puts you in small business territory.
Since it’s a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll need to think about how your shop physically looks. But with an IoT system installed, it doesn’t have to end at aesthetics. For example, you can have smart lighting and thermostats that automatically adjust depending on the weather and time of day. This can help you save on your electricity bill.
Meanwhile, your shelves won’t just be shelves. They’ll have sensors that can alert you when they’re nearly empty, so your staff can restock them when necessary. You can also add QR codes or tags that customers can scan using their smartphone, bringing them a few taps closer to more information or reviews about a product.
And finally, your CCTV cameras aren’t just there for security. New apps can count the number of people going in and out of your store just from the CCTV footage. These can also keep track of the areas that are most frequented by your store’s customers.
Small-Scale Healthcare and Hospitality Applications
Of course, it doesn’t completely end at retail. The applications of IoT can even extend to specific niches, such as the hospitality industry or healthcare.
In the hospitality industry, this can be in the form of motion-sensor lights for hotel rooms that automatically turn themselves off when the guests are away. For the boutique hotel’s restaurants, automated inventory tracking can help minimize spoilage of fresh ingredients. This can help reduce the operating costs of your establishment.
Meanwhile, in healthcare, it’s not just about hospitals. It’s also for small clinics and pharmacies, which are SMEs in a way. For example, you’re a doctor that established a small private practice. Instead of telling your secretary to manually remind each patient to show up at his or her appointment, you can automate those reminders on their smartphones through an app. Or you can sync your patient’s wearable with your clinic’s system to watch out for abnormalities, instead of getting the patient confined.
These applications for the Internet of Things are just the tip of the iceberg. As you can see, they can help you save lots of time, money, and effort in running your business. You just need to make sure that they’re built on a top-notch wireless broadband solution to ensure connectivity at all times.