Congratulations! You live in an era of connectivity where the machines you use in your business can directly communicate, maximizing efficiency and economic benefits. This networking is called the Internet of Things (abbreviated as IoT) and includes any device that can access the internet outside of the laptops, computers, and tablets. For example, today coffee makers, refrigerators, washing machines, cars, and more are able to access the internet and share data. Let’s take a look at some ways the IoT is revolutionizing small business management.
Opportunity: There’s an App For That
In the transportation industry, GPS equipment tracking connects fleets to the Internet of Things. Tracking data can help your business establish firm inventory management and improve customer service by locating shipments and providing accurate delivery times. With GPS tracking technology, small businesses can locate each vehicle in their fleet and use IoT data to optimize routes, avoid traffic, and deliver goods efficiently.
But what if your company wants to do even more? Consumers now have access to watches that keep track of their health, refrigerators that monitor grocery inventory, and cars that automatically connect to cell phones. What if your company could provide an app connected to your fleet GPS tracking system that allowed your customers to track their own shipments in real time, and monitor the safety of products on their way?
In a smaller business, the creation of an app unfurls a whole different level of marketing potential and narrows down the competition for consumer attention from billions of websites to a limited number of apps chosen for a customer’s device. Make your app stand out by supplying push notifications to let customers know of any delays or rerouting in real time and by offering new customers a different medium through which they can experience your new products and services. The IoT connects businesses to many more new streams of revenue that could maximize your customers’ experience and your business’ profitability.
Expedience and Efficiency
Transportation businesses are like the circulatory system of a human body. The ‘heart’ of the business is the warehouse and yard through which everything flows and is redirected to different paths. The vehicles in the fleet are the blood cells, transporting goods to where they need to go. Without communication between these different parts, the entire system would be tainted by inefficiency. And like any system of transport–whether it be body or business–the two of the most important things are speed and efficiency. With access to a GPS communication system that collects data from beginning to end, your business visibility increases, allowing you to make more informed decisions and stop inefficiency at its onset.
The core of the system is the yard from which all information and vehicles flow. Using vehicles that are equipped with IoT technology, your core system can follow the fleet’s digital voices through their entire process from accessing materials to transporting them to the final destination. Digitally monitoring deliveries lowers the human error aspect that is present in any human-run company, counteracting any miscommunication or mistakes that could be made in delivering the right product to the right place at the right time. With mobile scanners and RFID technology, companies have access to all of their business assets and can streamline their operations to keep the fleet functioning efficiently, reducing costs and thus helping small businesses grow.
As a small business, you understand the importance of marketing. If people don’t know who you are and what services you provide, your business could suffer a drastic economic decline. In the age of IoT, connected devices monitor what people want from a business, potentially allowing you to adapt your services accordingly.
With IoT connectivity rising rapidly and estimated to include 31 billion devices by the end of the next decade, it’s safe to say that the Internet of Things is here to stay. Communication, data collection, and tailored marketing are leveling the playing field in the world of fleet management and GPS tracking. Small businesses are now able to collect data and tailor their systems to promote efficiency and profitability, making IoT functionality a valuable asset in small business growth and development.