How the Internet of Things Will Change the Workplace

February 8, 2015
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how will the internet of things will change organisationsThe Internet of Things is set to revolutionise life at home and at work. In business, this huge network of connected or ‘smart’ devices has the potential to save time and resources, and create new opportunities for growth.


how will the internet of things will change organisationsThe Internet of Things is set to revolutionise life at home and at work. In business, this huge network of connected or ‘smart’ devices has the potential to save time and resources, and create new opportunities for growth.

What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things, or IoT for short, is a network of everyday objects that can share information and carry out automated tasks. So as well assmartphones and computers being connected to the internet, it also includes cars, appliances, thermostats and lights.

It was a major buzzword at CES 2015, with many commentators suggesting this year will see IoT enter everyday life and business.

Are You Prepared for the IoT Revolution?
Official figures from Ofcom show there are already more than 40 million devices connected via the IoT in the UK. This is predicted to grow more than eight-fold by 2022, with hundreds of millions of devices carrying out more than a billion data transactions every day.

Examples of IoT in Industry 
It will bring benefits to a wide range of business sectors, in particular healthcare, retail, manufacturing, energy and transport. For example:

  • Intelligent transport solutions could speed up traffic flows and reduce fuel consumption
  • Machine sensors could diagnose and predict maintenance issues

It’s expected that IoT products and services will add £12 trillion to the world economy by 2020 as IT spending continues to grow, according to Gartner.

How Will IoT Affect Businesses?
As devices become more sophisticated, there are several ways IoT can benefit your business, including:

1.) Data Analysis
Objects connected to the internet generate a huge flood of data. Knowing what to do with the data is what counts. Companies will have to rethink how they collect and analyse information to understand more about customers and trends, and tailor products and services accordingly.

A smart workplace can help you make sense of this data mountain, presenting only the most relevant information to employees. Instead of being a burden, it can actually give you a competitive edge.

2.) Smarter Offices
Embedding sensors in doors and ID cards can improve security in offices by sending alerts if they’re used at the wrong time or unused for a certain length of time.

Elsewhere in the office, employees could use a smartwatch to search for images or present slides during a presentation. Printers could sense when they were low on paper or toner and automatically order more supplies, while individual lights and thermostats could also be controlled automatically saving on electricity costs.

3.) Tracking Everything
Location tracking is made much easier with IoT. By connecting appliances and equipment to the internet you will know exactly where everything is, saving time and money that would otherwise have been spent on tracking things down.

Tracking is especially beneficial to retailers and transport companies as it can trace the movement of goods from beginning to end, highlighting delays in the supply chain and showing how things could be improved.

Some insurance companies offer to install sensors in customers’ cars so they can base the price of policies on how well the car is driven and where it travels.

4.) Growth Opportunities
IoT opens the door to many new business opportunities and streams of revenue. Smaller companies can think big, no longer restricted by where they are in the world.

The length of time it takes for a product to be brought to market will be speeded up, and advanced marketing techniques will improve customer service.

What the academics say about IoT?
Dr Gordon Fletcher, Co-Director of the Centre for Digital Business, Salford Business School, calls the Internet of Things a ‘hallmark of a maturing digital economy’. He gives an example of how IoT could be used by councils to drive efficiency and control resources.

An example of the potential is one of the most mundane but essential aspects of local government – rubbish collection. The Internet of Things will create an intelligent system where genuinely full bins would be collected as required (perhaps with a surcharge if the collection exceeded a minimum service agreement). Trucks would be dispatched on an optimised route that would produce the most efficient journey. Even more intelligent systems could offer to analyse the contents of the recycling bin to ensure that it only had acceptable materials inside. All of this interaction would, of course, be transparent to the householder.

How do you think the world could change with IoT? Let us know in the comments.