TMCnet Feature
January 14, 2020

Derek LaFever Highlights How the Internet of Things has Changed Business

The internet has connected us to each other in ways that weren’t previously imaginable, bringing 4.5 billion humans and counting together on the biggest stage in human history.

Now, the internet of things (IoT) is in the process of connecting our devices to each other in ways that would’ve been even more unimaginable just a few short years ago, allowing us to monitor our home security cameras directly through our smartphones, or giving our fridges the much-needed capability to re-order milk for us the second the last carton or bag runs dry.

It's not just our homes that are being revolutionized by the internet of things though. In fact, the greatest impact is undoubtedly being felt in the business world, where it’s allowing companies to expand into wide-ranging fields and completely and utterly transforming the way they conduct business says Derek LaFever, an IT expert with more than two decades of corporate experience in the field.

Let’s examine a few of the key ways in which IoT is making companies more money and changing the way they do business.

Uncovering New Business Opportunities

Enhanced IoT functionality in their products has been a huge boon for companies, allowing them to expand the services they offer to customers in the form of things like connected platforms where customers can access data and features related to their devices to gain access to additional functionality like updates and addons.

Another growing IoT-related field is predictive maintenance, whereby companies can monitor and track the performance of customers’ devices, limiting potential downtime for their customers by catching problems ahead of time.

Using Big Data to Gain Customer and Product Insights

At the same time companies are monitoring those devices on behalf of their customers or gathering data about their products through other means, they are gaining powerful insights into the efficiency of their products and how their customers use them says Derek LaFever, making it a win/win proposition for them.

Whereas companies had to previously guess or make assumptions about how their products would be used and how effective they would be, they now have concrete evidence of those parameters, giving them unprecedented ways to identify areas for improvement or to innovate new products that could better meet some of their customers’ needs.

The drive to better understand customers isn’t just happening through companies’ products either. Brick-and-mortar and digital stores alike are using every means at their disposal to analyze customer behavior and uncover what makes them tick and what factors might influence purchasing activity. In the case of retail stores, this is increasingly being done through a combination of cameras and AI.

Tracking Employees and Machines to Improve Efficiency

Companies aren’t improving their profitability solely through reaching out to customers with new products and services. IoT devices are also proving more than capable of providing useful insights on employee and machine activity, allowing companies to update their processes to detect production bottlenecks, be more efficient, and put employees in the best position to be happy and productive (which, as Derek LaFever points out, routinely goes hand-in-hand).

IoT Capabilities Fueling Increase in Remote Work

Speaking of happy workers, the data is increasingly clear that remote workers are the happiest and most productive workers of all, and IoT is allowing more workers than ever before, from across a wide range of fields, to work from a virtual smart office regardless of where they happen to be at the time.

Employing remote workers saves companies money on the cost of office equipment, supplies, and other overhead, while likewise boosting profitability through enhanced productivity. And with the ability to hold remote meetings and give employees remote access to office servers and data, there is little loss of employee capabilities.

Not only can IoT devices make remote work possible, it can also enhance it in a variety of ways, from smart chairs that urge employees to stretch their legs, to smart thermostats that automatically control the temperature so working conditions are ideal.

And of course, no remote office would be complete without a smart coffee machine that brews your favorite cup of java the moment your alarm goes off or you enter your office.

Asset Tracking in the Supply Chain

Thanks to the low cost of sensors, companies are even able to turn their inbound and outbound shipments into roaming IoT devices that can keep companies apprised of their location throughout the shipment process.

This can not only enhance the retrieval of lost packages says Derek LaFever, but perhaps more importantly, can provide useful data that will allow companies to optimize their delivery routes and other aspects of their supply chain.

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