The internet of things (IoT) — a network of internet-connected devices that gathers and exchanges data — is officially a go-to tool for competitive differentiation. Cisco found that 73 percent of IoT adopters are using data from the technology to improve their business, including 45 percent who said it helps reduce operational costs.
Some companies hold back from incorporating IoT technology because they aren’t aware of new innovations or don’t know how to implement them. Learn about the following IoT advantages to understand its potential and get leaders at your company on board.
“Always On” Restrooms and Breakrooms
In an era when keeping employees happy and productive is a top concern, IoT helps to eliminate messy or poorly stocked restrooms and breakrooms. IoT-generated data and alerts notify staff before a problem develops.
For example, soap or paper towel dispensers can send an alert when they are running low, or sensors can flag a running faucet or open refrigerator door. You have control over how these notifications are handled. The technology can automatically create a purchase order for supplies or adjust service schedules. Or, you can direct the alerts to create a facilities ticket for review by a supervisor before any action is taken.
IoT data also helps businesses make adjustments to cleaning schedules and supply orders. For example, you can gain insight into how often particular restrooms are used by tracking the number of flushes, how often soap is dispensed or how much water flows per hour.
Warehouses that use IoT-enabled technology can solve their inefficiency issues. Sensors and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags can recognize the need to order and restock products and provide real-time updates on where products are located in the warehouse.
Other IoT options for the warehouse include hands-free wearables that give workers access to information and notifications without being tied to a specific workstation. IoT location-management features allow you to track delivery trucks in the field as well as monitor data on tire pressure and other factors that help with fleet maintenance.
Self-Monitoring Printers to Prevent Jams
Internet-enabled printers that can automatically communicate any issues and provide diagnostics let you get ahead of any problems before they turn into headaches. Having connected printers means less time is spent on routine maintenance and the check-ups required to keep them employee-ready — and identifying malfunctions quickly means they can be repaired faster, too.
When ink, paper or toner levels are low, IoT printers can put in a new order, which helps reduce overspending on spare materials or unnecessary slowdowns. IoT printers can also provide significant energy-efficiency gains through their low-energy or sleep mode when they aren’t being used.
Comprehensive Control Over Office Environments
If office temperatures tend to vary dramatically, internet-connected heating and cooling systems may help keep everyone comfortable while cutting costs. IoT thermostats monitor temperature, humidity, air flow and occupancy levels to better allocate energy and balance office climates. They can also be programmed to change at certain times of the day.
When it comes to lighting systems, IoT generates data that can actually help you better manage office operations. For instance, by tracking light usage, you can identify high-traffic areas of your office and commonly used meeting rooms. You then know where to direct resources or investments, such as outfitting popular rooms with updated collaboration tools or extra seats.
Business reliance on IoT is likely to increase. Sixty-one percent of IoT adopters in the Cisco report say the technology’s future capabilities will only continue to grow for companies. IoT helps can help businesses save money spent on supplies and other overhead, and cut down on time spent managing company systems — both of which can help you focus resources on more important areas.