How to Decide If You Need to Invest in IoT for Your Business

By Ayda Eris / 21 November 2019

The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is a growing field of technology that aims to connect the devices people use every day to improve efficiency and make life easier. Though it may sound complicated, businesses have developed simple ways to integrate IoT technology into their human and product resources.

The Internet of Things is one of the emerging technologies (along with AI, AR/VR, and Blockchain) that is quickly becoming part our daily lives, both through new gadgets, like Google’s and Amazon’s home assistants, as well as traditional appliances that have been enhanced with IoT technologies.

The business sector is no exception. Actually, there are nearly limitless ways that IoT technology can affect the way we work. The potential applications are more obviously apparent in some sectors than others.

iOT Tracking Technology

Among the most widely-trending applications of IoT technology currently are tracking, monitoring, and control and management systems. RFID (radio frequency identification) and RTLS (Real-Time Location Services) technologies have been in use for several years and are already producing effective results. These services work by assigning physical tags to assets and badges for people.

While being able to track employees, visitors, and physical assets may not seem groundbreaking, the benefits to both you and your employees can be substantial.

3 Ways IoT Tracking Benefits Companies

  1. Effective Employee Tracking
  2. Valuable Asset Tracking
  3. Occupational Safety Tracking

1. Effective Employee Tracking

All employees use ID badges in workplaces, and most of these badges either open doors or record schedules. When these badges are equipped with IoT technology, it gives the system administrator the chance to monitor employees’ location in real time.

Imagine that you’re trying to optimize the distribution of service employees or customers that should be circulating through a large area. Companies like ShopperTrak have developed products powered by IoT technology that provide insights optimizing retail employee floor movement.

ShopperTrak Employee Tracking

Their product contains two tracking systems: video and thermal monitoring for customers, and RTLS badges for employees. Video monitoring provides insights into customer flow through the space and employee badges can assess if employees are positioning themselves where they will be most successful

Instead of a retail store, imagine you’re managing employees in high-risk workplaces where access needs to be carefully regulated.

Facilities with multiple visitors (hotels, business centers, recreation areas, museums) need to pay close attention to who can access what areas. Thus, whether it is for optimization or safety, there are critical reasons to track employees, and IoT is the most practical technology to do so.    

2. Valuable Asset Tracking

Aside from man-power, every business has its own unique and valuable assets. Hospitals have medical devices, factories have a variety of manufacturing tools, libraries have books, retail stores have goods, and warehouses have stock.

Asset management through traditional, manual processes requires lost of time and effort. Still, they’re prone to human error. By attaching IoT tags to your physical assets, you make them visible to the system manager at any given time.

It’s also possible to customize additional features once your products are visible. For example, you can match an asset to a specific employee so that an alarm will sound if someone else takes the product out of the area it belongs in.

For organization with a large stock, you can always know you true stock status via current and archived data.

IoT technology can help you keep track of your most-valuable assets at any time or obtain and manage your inventory in seconds. To begin with, this will put an end to lost or missing items, as well as the large amount of employee time spent taking stock.

Additionally, after IoT integration, you’ll have a wealth of data you can use to optimize whatever assets you’re tracking.

3. Occupational Safety Tracking

Workplace safety is a consideration no business should underestimate. This doesn’t only apply to companies in traditionally high-risk sectors, but also companies located in large buildings and complexes, as well as in regions prone to natural disasters.

These kinds of organizations should be prepared for unwanted emergency situations. Whether you want to be prepared for a work-related accident of earthquake, evacuation plans can be enhanced with IoT Technology.

Occupational Safety Tracking

Location technology enables you to develop a robust evacuation plan. In case of an emergency, IoT-enabled employee badges allow you to instantly count the number of people at gathering points, control the location of each person, and send alarms to warn people farther away from the incident area.   

Accidents are also a risk where humans and vehicles work together (for example in construction, warehouses, logistics). As an alternative to self-driving vehicles, you could upgrade your existing equipment with IoT technology.

When attached to vehicles and people, tags and badges communicate each other to provide speed control and alarms. Thus, you can minimize the risk of collision with minimum wiring.

Powerful Doesn’t Have to Mean Complex

They sky is the limit when it comes to digitizing your workplace with IoT technology.

While there are complicated technologies that are a bear to set up, that is not the case with RFID technology. It doesn’t require complex hardware and software that you need an IT degree to understand, and it can bring signifcant benefits in terms of employee and process effectiveness. 

Rather than being soley off-the-shelf systems, these technologies can be developed in line with your needs and requirements and installed easily and quickly. Through user-friendly interfaces like simple mobile apps, they can also be operated by any employee.

While the term “Internet of Things” may seem like an overly complex phenomenon, it’s purpose is to make our lives easier, and the sooner your business buys into it, the better off you’ll be.

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