In an ongoing effort to manage your online enterprise professionally and efficiently, you have probably come across the phrase “Internet of Things” through a fleeting reference or two. Before we tell you why, as an Internet entrepreneur, you should consider staying up with this cutting-edge technology, let us take a moment to tell you what the Internet of Things is and from where it has originated.
The Internet of Things, or IoT for short, refers to the Internet’s potential ability to wire and weave just about everything we use in our lives solidly into the planetary Internet fabric. Using an advanced IP addressing capability called IPv6, almost every product we use, would acquire an IP address. Such a large scale strategy to connect everything to the Internet will generate a windfall of benefits by tracking their usage, justifying the expense involved, repairing them remotely, identifying ownership– the list of benefits goes on and on. IoT will have the potential not only to wire consumer products such as your automobile, your appliances, and your entire home for all intents and purposes, but also industrial equipment such as plant machinery used for manufacturing. By deploying a highly sophisticated technology called asset analytics, millions of pieces of plant machinery, called assets, are already being wired into the Internet and analyzed in real time for performance, durability and ROI. According to a Gartner study published recently, there will be more than 26 billion devices wired into the Internet of Things by 2020. International standardization bodies such as the IETF, IPSO Alliance and ETSI, are already hard at work to evolve uniform standards, which will ensure seamless connectivity and optimal performance of IoT devices across geographies.
Internet of Things and Online Entrepreneurship
If you are beginning to wonder how the Internet of Things, as a milestone of technology progress, will impact you as an online entrepreneur, you have good reasons to do so. The implications could be far-reaching not only in terms of what type of online business you conduct but also in terms of how you conduct your business in an online environment. Let us take a look.
Positive Impact on your Work Environment
IoT will permit owners to gain the maximum mileage from your office assets such as your computer networks, your peripherals and other productivity tools. A significant portion of your office infrastructure is already wired into the Internet. However, standardized platforms to remotely turn them on and off, monitor power consumption, and provide predictive maintenance data are yet to evolve and will soon arrive as the IoT movement gains momentum.
Positive Impact on your Sales Inventory
If you are an ecommerce player, it is time to become an ecommerce IoT veteran. Conduct thorough research on the industry segment or vertical your ecommerce store showcases and watch for IoT products in your niche to market on your website. Such types of products are typically launched by startups during the initial stage whose time-to-market strategies are usually not advertising intensive. You will need to search for them as opposed to their arriving on your doorstep. Becoming proactive now will help you achieve the proverbial first strike advantage and strategically position you ahead of your competition.
Sprucing up your Service Channels
More new products means more customers. This is why any effort you make to streamline your customer service channels is a good idea. If you have installed live chat software on your website, for instance, train your chat operators about any IoT products you may carry on your website. Your phone reps, too, should be suitably trained to be able to field customer inquiries. If you are a service organization which conducts analytics research on your customers’ asset analytics data that has been generated from sophisticated plant machinery, prepare your service channel reps for a full range of untapped opportunities to serve new customers as more and more manufacturing plants acquire Internet-enabled assets.
Other service channel tune-ups all online entrepreneurs should consider:
- Update your knowledge base
- Streamline your FAQs
- Enrich your article repository
- Implement a process-oriented email solution with minimal first contact resolution (FCR) rates
In a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Internet Project, 85% of those who responded to the survey said that IoT would have a positive impact on society by 2025 owing to mass adoption rates. To what extent the Internet of Things movement will impact the quality of our daily lives, only time will tell.