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The internet of things (IoT) is the interconnection of different types of smart devices, products, smartphones, tablets, wearables, appliances, buildings and vehicles through sensors. These sensors will be connected with software and actuators to the internet. As a result, the objects will capture, share, transfer and analyze data to create efficient systems that have never existed before.

On a global scale the IoT industry is expected to have nearly 50 billion connected devices by 2020 with an industry that is worth $1.7 trillion and grow at an annual rate of 17%. But what will the IoT revolution do for your business? Here are some of the key benefits that small businesses will enjoy as the IoT changes the way we do business.

Efficient Real-Time Operations

From now on, businesses will need to upgrade their equipment to take advantage of smart sensors that will connect them to the internet. With an increased number of connected devices, there will be greater efficiency and more intelligent processes in the marketplace.

The more the number of IoT devices your company is using, the more efficient your operational decisions will be and this will have a direct effect on your bottom line. For example, when your point of sale terminal scanners on the retail floor are connected directly to the warehouse and the analytics software like SAP HANA at the headquarters, your inventory management will become far more efficient. The robots on the factory floor will send maintenance and production information instantly to those who need it to ensure that there is super efficient uptime and reliability.

Production of Smarter Products and Services

Previously, many people felt that telephones were only meant to be used for making calls. But today, the intelligent capability of the mobile phone has transformed our phones into smartphones with a large number of functions.

Now, our phones are more of personal digital assistants than mere telephones for making calls. We use these smartphones as cameras, video and voice recorders, computers, and electronic commerce machines.

This kind of paradigm shift is going to happen with so many other kids of products, thanks to the internet of things. Smart appliances will be installed in homes, smart wearable devices, smart cars, and many more will change what the average customer will expect from most products. For instance, a company that makes refrigerators can help to completely transform the food chain distribution.

In future, these devices will reduce the number of trips that consumers will need to make to the grocery store. The fridge will through its sensors, alert the owner on their smartphone that a particular item is running out of stock.

This will make it easy for the customer to authorize an order for fresh produce at her favorite fruit and vegetable store within minutes on her phone. Within a few hours, the order will be fulfilled with a delivery van waiting outside the door with the fresh products.

Faster and Better Data Collection

Businesses will have the capability to collect virtually every kind of data they need to understand the needs of their customers, their habits, and the type of product improvements they want. By placing small IoT sensors inside a product, data can be sent back to a cloud platform to be used to create new improved products within a few weeks.

Long and poorly conducted surveys will no longer be needed to gather consumer information. Actual data from products being used will be available in volumes that were never known before.

Those are just a few of the ways that the IoT will transform the way businesses operate and create new products in the near future. One of the best ways to prepare for this IoT revolution is to start using Cloud based processes.

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