Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Andy Thurai, Ed Featherston, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo

@ThingsExpo: Article

How Small Business Can Leverage the Internet of Things

The digital age gives owners easy access to customer, product, and market data that can be used to drive sales

In 1999, technology pioneer Kevin Ashton coined the phrase "Internet of Things" (IoT) to refer to the concept of "connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of." The IoT can also encompass car and plane engines, gas and oil wells, fitness tracking devices, and thermostats. In a 2014 New York Times article, writer Jeremy Rifkin stated, "Today more than 11 billion sensors are attached to natural resources, production lines, the electricity grid, logistics networks and recycling flows, and implanted in homes, offices, stores and vehicles, feeding big data into the Internet of Things. By 2020, it is projected that at least 50 billion sensors will connect to it." Although large companies and startup tech companies are the primary users right now, McKinsey Global Institute estimates that the IoT business will deliver $6.2 trillion in revenue by 2025.

Small companies can bolster their business significantly by leveraging this technology properly. Owners who come up with a comprehensive IoT strategy will be well equipped to manage a business in the ever-changing 21st century. According to CMSWire.com, many companies will need to start by updating their IT assets. "Add new devices, connect them to the cloud and enable them to talk to each other." Businesses must harness the power of technological connectivity in order to serve and understand their customers better.

Small businesses should first consider using IoT to collect customer data. The technology allows companies to easily and cost-efficiently collect new data which will offer invaluable insights about ways to improve business or keep up with the competition.

For instance, a coffee shop owner wanting to know the prime time to hand out flyers and promotional pieces could observe foot traffic data in order to know when to do so. IoT will also give companies the data necessary to predict the types of purchases customers will make, which in turn allows them to market more effectively.

Insurance companies, for instance, are already using deices that plug into cars to monitor their policy-holders driving matters. In turn, this allows them to price their insurance rates based on individual driving patterns and habits. Companies like Amazon and Netflix are already leveraging past customer choices to suggest similar preferences. By utilizing customer click-stream data and historical purchase data, they are able to provide each customer with unique recommendations. Gartner.com wrote, "The IoT connects remote assets and provides a data stream between the asset and centralized management systems. Real-time information enables more accurate understanding of status, and it enhances utilization and productivity." This is another way that small businesses can use data collection - to give each customer product suggestions that are specifically tailored to their interests.

This data can then be used to provide a better after-sales experience for the consumer. General Electric has utilized IoT sensor data from car and jet engines to determine when customers will need preventive maintenance and what actions can be taken to keep systems from failing. According to a 2014 article in Fast Company, General Electric wants to "create a kind of intelligence within the machines, which would collect and parse their data. A new GEnx jet engine with a multitude of sensors could spin off an awesome amount of information. GE would in turn help predict, say, when a crucial engine part required repairs." Small businesses should think about how this type of data-driven intelligence can be used to give customers an optimal experience.

IoT can also help small businesses save money and drive revenue. The digital age gives owners easy access to customer, product, and market data that can be used to drive sales. For example, businesses can track their current inventory and predict the number of items that will be needed at particular times throughout the year. This data can be used to make sure that the correct items are being advertised at the appropriate time. Companies should also consider pairing their IoT devise with business intelligence software, to help analyze the data they collect.

As the IoT continues to expand, small businesses have the opportunity to be early adopters and innovators in this new digital space.

More Stories By Keith Cawley

Keith Cawley is the media relations manager at TechnologyAdvice. a market leader in business technology recommendations. He covers a variety of business technology topics, including gamification, business intelligence, and healthcare IT.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
As ridesharing competitors and enhanced services increase, notable changes are occurring in the transportation model. Despite the cost-effective means and flexibility of ridesharing, both drivers and users will need to be aware of the connected environment and how it will impact the ridesharing experience. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Timothy Evavold, Executive Director Automotive at Covisint, discussed key challenges and solutions to powering a ride sharing and/or multimodal model in the age ...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, presented the findings of a series of six detailed case studies of how large corporations are implementing IoT. The session explored how IoT has improved their economic performance, had major impacts on business models and resulted in impressive ROIs. The companies covered span manufacturing and services firms. He also explored servicification, how manufacturing firms shift from se...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...