By now, you've likely heard all about the Internet of Things (IoT) and how it promises to make the future of business better, brighter, and more efficient. But what is the Internet of Things, really? In a nutshell, the IoT is the connected ecosystem that underpins today's most prevalent connected devices. You can think of it as the invisible fabric that allows smart systems to gather data, make decisions, and talk to one another—it's essentially the connection in "connected tech." For workplaces, small businesses, and people who work from home, the IoT has far-reaching implications and use cases. Think the smart speaker you ask for daily stock market updates, smart sensors that monitor inventory, or the smart thermostat you argue with your coworkers over. Here's how this emerging technology impacts the way we do business today—and the ways in which we'll likely work in the future.
IoT definition and how it impacts your business operations
If you're still a little confused about the definition of the Internet of Things, you're not alone. Here's what Merriam-Webster has to say: the IoT is "the networking capability that allows information to be sent to and received from objects and devices, such as fixtures and kitchen appliances, using the internet." As the IoT definition implies, the concept encompasses a range of technologies, including hardware (smart devices), software (computer programs that makes those devices tick), systems integration (the IT architecture that lets all the pieces work together), and data and telecoms services (platforms like WorkPass that establish the WiFi connectivity needed for the IoT to function). From the future of supply chains to the foundation of smart cities and offices, there's virtually no industry that won't be affected by the Internet of Things moving forward.
What does IoT mean for the future of work?
Here are a few examples of how an IoT framework can be used to optimize business operations:
- Connected, sensor-laden equipment can streamline manufacturing processes and track goods as they move along the supply chain—no manual oversight necessary.
- Devices like smart shopping carts or contactless payment systems make the in-person retail experience smoother and more enjoyable for customers.
- Wearable IoT devices track worker health and safety in fulfillment centers or factories.
- Turning your smart devices into WiFi-powered motion detectors gives brick-and-mortar businesses extra peace of mind after-hours.
IoT will also become critical for everything from optimizing collaboration to reducing waste—helping ensure a more seamless workday for managers, employees, and everyone in between. As the world moves toward a remote or hybrid workplace, it will be increasingly important for WiFi networks to keep up with the pace of IoT technologies. (After all, if your employees are constantly asking, "Why does my signal suck?" they probably aren't harnessing their peak productivity.) Businesses won't be able to tap into the transformative power of IoT without the right infrastructure—luckily, a WiFi evolution is already underway. WorkPass, a Plume service that transforms your basic network into a fully connected business intelligence platform, is made with Main Street in mind. For small businesses looking to boost productivity, capitalize on the latest marketing trends, and optimize security, WorkPass provides a foundation for making the most out of the IoT of today—and realizing its promise for a more efficient tomorrow. Learn more about WorkPass and how it's the perfect business partner for an IoT-run world.