Simple IoT for Small Business

Small business owner

For businesses in the Highland Lakes area, effective implementation of IoT can be a differentiating factor that can improve your business. According to Gartner Inc., by 2020, more than half of new businesses will include IoT in their business processes. When implemented correctly, the Internet of Things can increase an enterprise’s productivity and shave waste, create sustainable ecosystems, or increase revenue streams by informing data-driven business decisions.

Below are 5 simple steps to help determine whether IoT will improve your business processes.

  1. Choose an IoT Partner. Alone, you go fast, together, we go far. Choose a partner experienced in IoT implementation and benefit from collaboration and their experience. Implementing an out-of-the box solution with limited IoT knowledge and capacity cannot yield the same results as working with an experienced team. It takes three things to create an IoT solution: network connectivity, hardware, and an IoT platform.
  2. Start small on a specific business problem. Starting small allows you to get your feet wet and decide whether IoT technology can add value to your business by isolating a segment of your business and testing there.
  3. Define success. After you determine where to start, determine what success you would like for the project. Is it reducing cost? Is it reducing man-hours? Is improving customer experience? Depending on the goal, create a set of measureable metrics that indicate the success or failure of your pilot project.
  4. Choose a time-frame. Now that you have the problem to solve and the metrics to determine success, set a trial period that makes sense for your project and the information you want to gather. Some helpful time frames are 30-60-90 days.
  5. Learn fast. Learn often. In a recent survey of companies implementing IoT initiatives, 64 percent agreed that learning from stalled or failed IoT initiatives helped accelerate their organization’s investment in IoT. Regardless of the success or failure of the project, what you learn will help your business better understand its process.

 

HCTS is passionate about equipping businesses with the resources needed to maximize their potential. If you are considering integrating IoT into your business process, schedule a consultation to learn about all the possibilities available for you.

The S in IoT stands for Security

By 2020 there will be an estimated 212 billion IoT objects connected to the internet. An IoT object is any device with an on/off switch connected to the internet. We are currently sharing a series of blog posts to help you navigate what IoT means for your home, business, and city. Previously in our series, we discussed what IoT is, its implication for your home, for small businesses, and for the cities we live in. In our latest installment, we are covering the security risk associated with IoT.

Whether at home, at work, or in cities, the gains garnered by IoT are hard to beat. Effective IoT lowers the cost of doing business, increases productivity, improves the overall experience in cities, and allows one a firmer handle of real-time data. However, the multitude of connected devices opens our homes, businesses, and cities up to new risks in network and identity security from bad actors.

An industry joke goes like this: “the S in IoT stands for security.”

There is no S in IoT. In the same way, IoT devices are notoriously lacking in security measures. The lack of security in IoT devices is alarming considering that, according to a recent report, IoT attacks grew 280% from the prior six-month reporting period.

Digging deeper, it is apparent that a large chunk of this growth stems from Mirai—malware that infects IoT devices like wireless cameras and home routers that have standardized factory passwords and turns them into controllable bots. The malware co-opts thousands of unprotected IoT devices and directs them to send signals to overload specific networks.  In fact, a Mirai attack happened in 2016 and shutdown sites like Etsy, Pinterest, Netflix, The New York Times, SoundCloud, and Twitter, among other major websites. Estimates project that roughly $110 million in potential revenue was lost in this attack.

One consistent factor in attacks that compromise vast networks is when devices in use maintain their default username and password set in the factory. Because these passwords are standardized, hackers infiltrate devices operating with unchanged passwords and then are able to dictate the action of those devices at-will.

If you own any device that connects to the internet, you need to seriously consider what security protocols you want to take to protect your network. If you are in the Texas Hill Country, schedule a consultation with HCTS. We have multiple decades of experience installing the networks for Fortune 500 companies and U.S. Embassies abroad. We value any opportunity available to protect and serve our neighbors in the Highland Lakes.

Small Business and the Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet-of-Things-Trillion-Dollar-Industry-Image-Source-teamarin.net_By 2020 there will be an estimated 212 billion IoT objects connected to the internet. An IoT object is any device with an on/off switch connected to the internet. We are currently in a series of blog posts to help you navigate what IoT means for your home, business and city. Click here to read our last blog about IoT in your home.

The Internet of Things is no longer reserved for the Fortune 500 companies with thousands of employees and millions in expenditures. In fact, Bob O’Donnell, president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research believes “the biggest potential impact for IoT is, in fact, going to be in small businesses, not big ones.” His point is rooted in that over 89% of all US businesses have fewer than 20 employees. Every small business owner is strapped for time and has an endless list of tasks. O’Donnell notes that by leveraging IoT sensors, high quality wireless networks and modern cloud-based software small business owners will be able to increase their productivity and reduce their costs.

The first step for small business owners in the Texas Hill Country to harness the power of IoT is to ensure the strength and full functionality of internet networking within the premises of the business. Without a strong networking foundation, it impossible to benefit from data-tracking and automation of IoT. As you consider IoT, schedule a consultation with Hill Country Technology Solutions. We will use our decades of networking experience to ensure your business has the foundation necessary to transition to the next generation of technology applications.

After you establish a strong network base for IoT devices, below are a few practical ways of introducing IoT technology to improve the efficiency of your business.

Boosting energy efficiency:  By introducing sensors and trackers (including smart home services such as Tado, Nest, or more advanced lighting systems such as Loxone), the use of heating and lighting can be controlled remotely, and money can be saved.

Better delivery: If your small business has a delivery component to the services offer, try using your smart-phone to tap into traffic-tracking apps like Waze (which is free!) that will help you intelligently plan your delivery route.

These recommendations just scratch the surface of what is possible with IoT. Ultimately using IoT tools allow you to make smarter choices that reduce waste and improve production for your small business.

HCTS wants to help your small business leverage technology to increase the revenue of your small business. Call HCTS today to (512) 466-2974 or email info@thehcts.com to schedule a consultation.