The Internet of Things is a transformational technology that will change the future of business. In 2008 there were officially more devices connected to the Internet than there were human beings, and according to the original estimates, we will see 50 billion connected devices by 2020.
A large variety of industries, including logistics, marketing, and manufacturing, are already using IoT technology today, and experts predict that number this will only increase as large and small companies increasingly implement it.
For most of us, the Internet of Things already plays a role in everyday life. One of the earliest examples goes back to the early 1970’s, when the first ATMs went online. Some items we already own also incorporate the IoT technology, including smart home appliances and fitness trackers. Other everyday items will also soon include features enabled by IoT, such as cars and streets that “communicate” to facilitate rush hour traffic. IoT is similarly poised to change the way companies work by making business processes more productive and efficient.
How exactly will IoT technology change the workplace?
Increased efficiency and productivity
The latest and greatest IoT developments will enable you to get more in less time. Imagine being able to fulfill large-scale tasks faster while making fewer mistakes in your work.
If you’re a business owner, you will be able to follow every aspect of your company—from controlling inventory to managing field service employees. When every tool and device is connected to one centralized system, it becomes much easier to control them. This will improve data analysis and management results and broaden the opportunity to expand your business.
What’s more, the enhanced connectivity IoT offers lets companies more easily connect with their customers and clients, preventing potential problems and creating new revenue streams based on automatically collected feedback.
Cheaper, greener technologies
In the U.S., 30% of the energy used in an average commercial building is wasted. The potential to reduce energy consumption is enormous. Imagine if these buildings could shift to a “nighttime mode” outside business hours, when power consumption is reduced to a minimum and all unnecessary electricity is deactivated. Prior to the start of the business day, the heating and ventilation systems would switch to standby mode to improve the indoor air quality. Then, at the start of workday. all functions are automatically activated depending on whether anyone is in the room. Moreover, the room temperature controller ensures the optimal indoor climate through proper heating and ventilation. A sun protection collector opens the window blinds and allows daylight into the room while also preventing too much light or heat.
Thanks to IoT, companies can save energy while keeping the office work environment comfortable. Such tools are already on the market or in development, and their quality is only going to improve.
Better workplace collaboration
Although some worry that IoT could create a more isolated workplace experience, studies suggest that it will have the opposite effect, potentially improving interactions among employees. According to a Harvard Business Review survey, companies are already seeing important benefits of IoT-based initiatives, and 58% respondents say they have seen increased collaboration within the business. For example, thanks to technology that enables remote workers, companies can create a real presence for employees anywhere in the world. Soon, video conferencing that previously required use of a fixed device such as a computer or smartphone will be possible from any part of an enterprise base.
While some companies have already adopted IoT technology into their internal business processes, it is not yet ubiquitous in the business world. It is important to realize that office connectivity involves more than just printers and computers; it is a complex, constantly evolving ecosystem with the potential to transform objects into smart services. Barriers remain before this technology will fundamentally reshape our lives, but the direction is clear.
For more insight on future workplace trends, see The Future Of Work Is Here Now, But Does Work Have A Future?