SMBs are migrating to the Internet of Things (IoT) in droves, incorporating devices into their businesses to increase control, automation, and data collection, all while cutting costs. These devices are affordable, don’t involve massive IT infrastructure, and can be a huge benefit for your company when used appropriately. Finding the right IoT systems for your SMB is key to harnessing the power of automating repetitive tasks and boosting productivity. Your IoT devices use sensors to gather data, which is then transported to the cloud or storage and processed. In turn, insights collected from your data feed to the user interface. For small businesses, this means the ability to make informed, efficient decisions.
Below is a list of IoT systems to grow your business:
Mobile Card Readers
Mobile card readers (mPOS) devices have revolutionized retail as we know it. SMBs who implement mPOS devices experience increased convenience and reduce the margin for error.
It is important for SMB owners to remember that mPOS devices and systems can still be vulnerable, which makes them a target for hacking and fraud by cybercriminals. When using mPOS it is most critical that you keep your systems up to date, ensure the latest protections are in place (firewalls, two-factor authentication, endpoint protection), and use strong, unique passwords.
Never stress over lost or stolen keys again and enjoy the convenience of managing building access from any device! Unique passcodes keys are created and assigned, which allows SMB owners/managers the ability to manage and track who enters the building. Smart Locks are especially effective when used in conjunction with smart cameras and alarms.
IoT thermostats are almost a primitive precedent to smart devices; used to manage heating based on a preset temperature but can expand an SMBs ability to manage environments across large premises remotely and send notifications of issues to be resolved to maintain compliance.
Security cameras are less expensive all the time, making them a viable option for SMBs. Connected cameras allow owners/managers to monitor offices, warehouses, entrances, and other areas remotely. There is no need for running cables as these cameras use Wi-Fi and can be placed anywhere power is available. Remember, having a reliable internet connection is especially important as the quality will depend on the bandwidth available.
These services may require a subscription, but the cost is relatively low for the lack of maintenance and convenience that it provides.
Inventory and Stock
Many small businesses are already using barcodes, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, and IoT devices for inventory control. These tags are great for tracking inventory and automatically updating inventory as items are sold, and then triggering reorders for sold items. This serves two purposes, maintaining an accurate inventory, and maximizing efficiency to save hours and money.
IoT makes your deliveries visible, start to finish. IoT connected devices are used to feed you’re your transportation management and supply chain platforms to provide critical information. SMBs are at a competitive advantage with this enhanced visibility throughout the shipping stages.
Voice assistants can control most smart IoT devices, which frees up time for SMB owners to focus on business issues. They take notes, set reminders, and deliver notifications while reducing the costs associated with a sale.
Connected smart lights offer the convenience of controlling from a device onsite or remotely. These lights help cut costs and increase security.
Of course, all this ease and affordability does not come without some security risks that you must know if you are thinking about crossing over. With each new device added to your business network a potential entry point for attack has been created. That is why it is imperative that each employee is trained on cybersecurity, technology best practices, and company policies.