Small businesses can tap into the Internet of Things to cut costs, improve productivity and access better intelligence. While over 60% of enterprise decision-makers are experimenting with the IoT cloud, small businesses stand to gain the most.

In 2015, only 30% of businesses in a global survey had begun limited IoT deployments. In the 2014 Harvard Business Review Analytics Services Report, Mark Bartolomeo of Verizon Connected Solutions said:  "While IoT is definitely not science fiction, it's not something that's available off the shelf."

Fast forward to 2019 and it’s clear: IoT is a technology trend with practical applications for small businesses.

You’re probably already using an IoT cloud application like Slack, Evernote or Google Docs in your business. But, are you taking advantage of the benefits of IoT technology? In this post, we discuss how small businesses can use IoT cloud technology for their benefit.

Improve productivity with a smart assistant

IoT cloud technologyAs a small business owner, you’d benefit from some help with organizing your day. Who wouldn't?

Applications like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri will take care of basic tasks to improve your productivity.

Around 15% of small businesses in North America and Europe are using smart assistants to increase efficiency, according to a Spiceworks survey.

Respondents use the assistants to help with tasks like voice-to-text dictation and managing employees calendars.

Save on security costs

Sophisticated security tech will lock your doors, and provide 24-hour surveillance. Affordable innovations, like motion detection algorithms that work with the low-cost computer, Raspberry Pi 2 chip, and Pi camera, expand access to smart security solutions.

A camera can be mounted anywhere, and the user accesses the feed via a web page from their phone. This system will send alerts if anyone gains access to the property.  Prior to the roll-out of IoT, live streaming security surveillance would have been out of reach for most small business owners but IoT levels the playing field.

The days of stolen or lost keys are long gone too. Provide employees with digital keys and grant visitors temporary access using pin codes. Smart locks like Sesame put a creative spin on the concept, allowing you to open the door with a special knock on your phone.

Reduce energy bills

Using the IoT cloud to benefit your small businessDid you know that HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) and lighting make up 59% of commercial energy use? Installing sensors to control HVAC and lighting can cut costs by as much as 40%, according to a study conducted by Texas Instruments.

This type of technology is becoming more accessible for small businesses, with the cost of sensors falling from $1.30 in 2004 to $0.38 cents by 2020.

Small business security & the IoT

It’s understandable that you want to take advantage of the promises of IoT technology, but there are security concerns. Security and integration are among the biggest barriers to IoT, according to Bain & Company.

Alarmingly, almost 50% of businesses can’t detect if their IoT cloud has been hacked. Small businesses are likely more vigilant. According to research from IT security company Pwnie Express, 41% of IT security professionals at large firms didn’t know what types of hacks had affected their IoT cloud, compared to 25% at smaller businesses. There’s an IoT solution for security too. Companies like Particle provide a platform for businesses to connect to the IoT securely.

Keeping up with the pace of IoT cloud technology will ensure you don’t get left behind. Discover more about the latest trends in cloud and mobile technology to find out how your business can reap the benefits.

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