Let’s start with a question: what’s something around you that is subconsciously shaping your lifestyle and the way you perceive your environment?
Before you start getting philosophical or theological with the answer, let us stop you with three simple words: Internet. Of. Things. IoT startups are on the rise, and IoT development is being given a lot of importance right now because the application of IoT in business is vast.
The Internet of Things, or IoT for short, is no longer a novel buzzword passed around in IT circles. In fact, the world is starting to understand the convenience of IoT is not just day-to-day life, but also the immense potential of IoT in the business realm.
Our connection to the internet was initially limited by the capabilities of devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and computers. Once the Internet of Things companies made us realise the importance of IoT in business and our daily lives, it’s been a different ball game.
Now, it’s not just mobile phones and tablets, but almost all appliances can be connected and remotely monitored, and the internet is never a necessity with IoT. In this blog, we will explore the concept of the Internet of Things (or IoT), IoT roles in startup growth stages, and the importance of IoT in business.
What is the Internet of Things?
So, what exactly is the much-discussed Internet of Things in business?
Simply put, it is a system of interrelated devices connected to the internet to transfer and receive data from each other and carry out programmed tasks or functions. Maybe that was not so simply put. Let us break it down for you.
Now, the internet helps not just people connect but also helps inanimate objects connect with each other. To better your life, of course.
A smart home is a great example of how IoT connected dwellings make our lives easier.
In a smart home, the home appliances like the Air Conditioner, temperature regulating thermostats, security systems and alarms, and even the toasters can be interconnected and accessed from a single touchpoint. In most cases, this touchpoint is your mobile phone.
Now, picture this: you wake up to the smell of freshly ground coffee instead of a shrill alarm. A gentle symphony playing over the speakers guide you to your kitchen counter. As you caress your hot coffee, the heater in your upstairs washroom turns on automatically in anticipation of a warm shower.
Relaxing, isn’t it?
Now look at the same from a business perspective. You walk into that office with your morning coffee, all the data you need is compiled into your system. The customer churn that posed a problem yesterday does not bother you today; IoT has analysed the situation through AI/ML software and has found the leak. All you have to do now is plug it.
And this is just the tip of how the Internet of Things can create exceptional user experiences for you. If your budget can support it, that is.
How Complicated is it, Really?
Think back to the popular, albeit imaginary, smart mansion that makes Evergreen Island in Lake Washington distinctive. Tony Stark’s smart home, a glimpse of the epitome of luxury living.
Tony’s virtual assistant, JARVIS, gently invites Tony to start a new day by adjusting his windows to let in the natural sunlight. JARVIS also prepares Tony to start his day by displaying the time and temperature on his windows.
Thanks to the advancement of technology, this scenario is no longer a figment of a great screenwriters’ imagination. IoT can help you convert your Business to a smart one too!
The Internet of Things might seem simple on the surface, but a lot is going on backstage to ensure the smooth functioning of everything you see outside. Can we get a little technical for a second and try to understand how IoT development and IoT devices work?
Devices need to coordinate well with each other, data needs to be collected, sorted, and processed, and actions are taken. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there are a lot of pieces to the IoT puzzle, such as the hardware and software components.
The hardware devices include the devices that are part of the IoT network and the sensors attached to these devices, while the software part mainly revolves around the Cloud, which acts as both a storage and a processing unit.
Hardware for IoT devices can be classified into:
1. General Devices
These devices are the crux of the database and information exchange processes in IoT-driven applications. A good example of this is any home appliance connected by any wired or wireless IoT interface.
2. Sensing Devices
Sensing devices are tiny components of an IoT network, usually integrated with general devices. Sensors measure parameters such as humidity, temperature, wind intensity, and light and transmit the data they collect to the IoT network through gateways or processing nodes.
From the tiny sensors used for recording data from your environment to powerful computing algorithms, all the components of an IoT network need to act in tandem with each other. It’s the only way to manage copious collecting data to transfer, process, and store information.
How Can Startups Leverage IoT for Growth?
If you learn how to harness the power of IoT, the possibilities for your business growth are almost limitless. Let us take a quick look at how you can leverage IoT for growth:
Predictive Analysis and Recommendation
Customer experiences define the success of your business, and bad customer experiences can affect your business badly. This is why businesses give so much importance to creating delightful, personalised experiences for each customer.
The data collection, processing, and storage capabilities of IoT networks can help your business anticipate and meet the needs of your end-users.
Predictive Maintenance of Assets
You can manage and maintain multiple assets of your business without regular human supervision. You simply need to set up an IoT system to handle the maintenance tasks of your assets at regular intervals and you can sit back and relax!
This is called predictive maintenance, which is a very useful capability of IoT networks from a business viewpoint.
Monitoring and Analytical Capabilities
IoT networks have extensive monitoring, analytical, and reporting capabilities that are industry-agnostic and suitable for any business model. You can even augment the asset tracking functionalities for your business using the capabilities of IoT platforms.
Data Collection and Management
We have five main sensory organs, which means we perceive the world around us through those five senses.
Now, what about your smartphone? How many senses do you think it has? We can tell you it’s definitely more than five!
At any given point in time, your smartphone is getting data inputs from multiple senses. It knows where you are, what you’re doing, if you’re moving, how you’re moving, and who you’re with (let’s not forget the cameras in smartphones!). And, if you’re connected to a smartwatch, it even knows your exact heart rate and how much REM sleep you got last night!
With IoT, you can collect, collate, and manage large amounts of business data efficiently.
Innovation in Product Development
Where there is no innovation, there is no development.
Let’s explain how IoT fuels innovation with another classic example.
You’re away on vacation, but your lean needs to be watered regularly. You also don’t want to waste water on excessive sprinkling. What do you do? You set up an IoT connected lawn irrigation system, of course!
The sensors and actuators installed in your lawn will gauge the soil for moisture levels and alert your sprinkler system when the soil gets too dry. IoT deals with continuous and real data, so the sprinklers will be turned off as soon as the moisture levels are back up.
And, you can nod in appreciation and go back to sipping your pina colada!
If this is what IoT can do for your backyard, think of the possibilities when it comes to what IoT can do for your business product innovation!
Here, think of the lawn as your business, the need for constant managerial attention to details can be reduced to vital decisions. Your brain can relax once in a while and be calm about it because you know IoT is doing its job.
Without IoT, all the calculations from devices are done at a central source and this instils an unnecessary load for the network. IoT solves this dilemma by introducing edge computing where the data is processed more close to the user. And the security prospects of edge computing is comparatively higher for the traditional methods.
Energy conservative features
IoT sensors help in using resources only to the desired or optimal level. The wastage of resources can always help a business save a lot of money. Using advanced AI/ML software defect prediction and resource allocation will be more accurate than a manual process, plus, this will be fully automated.
Automation of Business Processes
The IoT is everywhere you look, from smart homes and smart devices to smart farming and smart healthcare. With IoT, you can automate most of the business processes and supply chains that your organisation handles, which will save you time and resources in the short and long run.
Easy to Implement Solutions
IoT facilitates simple technological solutions for complex business problems, thanks to the wide spectrum of applications. The vast vision of IoT entails connecting all devices to the power of the internet, which means the easy to implement solutions will be almost limitless in nature once we tap into the full potential of the Internet of Things.
Imagine you’re out for a long-anticipated dinner, looking to unwind after a long day at work. Just as your waiter finally materialises and places a drinks menu in your hands, your mind wanders back to the refrigerator door back home.
The same old recurring nightmare plays itself out in your head: Did you turn the gas main off? Will you have a home to go back to or will your night end in the charred remains of the smouldering house?
You won’t have this worry if you own a smart home.
Or, what if you need to initiate a business process that is time-bound?