Welcome!

@BigDataExpo Authors: Gregor Petri, Elizabeth White, Ed Featherston, Dana Gardner, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

@ThingsExpo: Article

How Small Business Can Leverage the Internet of Things

The digital age gives owners easy access to customer, product, and market data that can be used to drive sales

In 1999, technology pioneer Kevin Ashton coined the phrase "Internet of Things" (IoT) to refer to the concept of "connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of." The IoT can also encompass car and plane engines, gas and oil wells, fitness tracking devices, and thermostats. In a 2014 New York Times article, writer Jeremy Rifkin stated, "Today more than 11 billion sensors are attached to natural resources, production lines, the electricity grid, logistics networks and recycling flows, and implanted in homes, offices, stores and vehicles, feeding big data into the Internet of Things. By 2020, it is projected that at least 50 billion sensors will connect to it." Although large companies and startup tech companies are the primary users right now, McKinsey Global Institute estimates that the IoT business will deliver $6.2 trillion in revenue by 2025.

Small companies can bolster their business significantly by leveraging this technology properly. Owners who come up with a comprehensive IoT strategy will be well equipped to manage a business in the ever-changing 21st century. According to CMSWire.com, many companies will need to start by updating their IT assets. "Add new devices, connect them to the cloud and enable them to talk to each other." Businesses must harness the power of technological connectivity in order to serve and understand their customers better.

Small businesses should first consider using IoT to collect customer data. The technology allows companies to easily and cost-efficiently collect new data which will offer invaluable insights about ways to improve business or keep up with the competition.

For instance, a coffee shop owner wanting to know the prime time to hand out flyers and promotional pieces could observe foot traffic data in order to know when to do so. IoT will also give companies the data necessary to predict the types of purchases customers will make, which in turn allows them to market more effectively.

Insurance companies, for instance, are already using deices that plug into cars to monitor their policy-holders driving matters. In turn, this allows them to price their insurance rates based on individual driving patterns and habits. Companies like Amazon and Netflix are already leveraging past customer choices to suggest similar preferences. By utilizing customer click-stream data and historical purchase data, they are able to provide each customer with unique recommendations. Gartner.com wrote, "The IoT connects remote assets and provides a data stream between the asset and centralized management systems. Real-time information enables more accurate understanding of status, and it enhances utilization and productivity." This is another way that small businesses can use data collection - to give each customer product suggestions that are specifically tailored to their interests.

This data can then be used to provide a better after-sales experience for the consumer. General Electric has utilized IoT sensor data from car and jet engines to determine when customers will need preventive maintenance and what actions can be taken to keep systems from failing. According to a 2014 article in Fast Company, General Electric wants to "create a kind of intelligence within the machines, which would collect and parse their data. A new GEnx jet engine with a multitude of sensors could spin off an awesome amount of information. GE would in turn help predict, say, when a crucial engine part required repairs." Small businesses should think about how this type of data-driven intelligence can be used to give customers an optimal experience.

IoT can also help small businesses save money and drive revenue. The digital age gives owners easy access to customer, product, and market data that can be used to drive sales. For example, businesses can track their current inventory and predict the number of items that will be needed at particular times throughout the year. This data can be used to make sure that the correct items are being advertised at the appropriate time. Companies should also consider pairing their IoT devise with business intelligence software, to help analyze the data they collect.

As the IoT continues to expand, small businesses have the opportunity to be early adopters and innovators in this new digital space.

More Stories By Keith Cawley

Keith Cawley is the media relations manager at TechnologyAdvice. a market leader in business technology recommendations. He covers a variety of business technology topics, including gamification, business intelligence, and healthcare IT.

@BigDataExpo Stories
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
Ovum, a leading technology analyst firm, has published an in-depth report, Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting a DevOps Release Management Solution, 2016–17. The report focuses on the automation aspects of DevOps, Release Management and compares solutions from the leading vendors.
Choosing the right cloud for your workloads is a balancing act that can cost your organization time, money and aggravation - unless you get it right the first time. Economics, speed, performance, accessibility, administrative needs and security all play a vital role in dictating your approach to the cloud. Without knowing the right questions to ask, you could wind up paying for capacity you'll never need or underestimating the resources required to run your applications.
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Up until last year, enterprises that were looking into cloud services usually undertook a long-term pilot with one of the large cloud providers, running test and dev workloads in the cloud. With cloud’s transition to mainstream adoption in 2015, and with enterprises migrating more and more workloads into the cloud and in between public and private environments, the single-provider approach must be revisited. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yoav Mor, multi-cloud solution evangelist at Cloudy...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
Security, data privacy, reliability, and regulatory compliance are critical factors when evaluating whether to move business applications from in-house, client-hosted environments to a cloud platform. Quality assurance plays a vital role in ensuring that the appropriate level of risk assessment, verification, and validation takes place to ensure business continuity during the migration to a new cloud platform.
It’s 2016: buildings are smart, connected and the IoT is fundamentally altering how control and operating systems work and speak to each other. Platforms across the enterprise are networked via inexpensive sensors to collect massive amounts of data for analytics, information management, and insights that can be used to continuously improve operations. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Chemel, Co-Founder and CTO of Digital Lumens, will explore: The benefits sensor-networked systems bring to ...
Cloud analytics is dramatically altering business intelligence. Some businesses will capitalize on these promising new technologies and gain key insights that’ll help them gain competitive advantage. And others won’t. Whether you’re a business leader, an IT manager, or an analyst, we want to help you and the people you need to influence with a free copy of “Cloud Analytics for Dummies,” the essential guide to this explosive new space for business intelligence.
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet a...
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busin...
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
"This week we're really focusing on scalability, asset preservation and how do you back up to the cloud and in the cloud with object storage, which is really a new way of attacking dealing with your file, your blocked data, where you put it and how you access it," stated Jeff Greenwald, Senior Director of Market Development at HGST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.