In our previous article we discussed smart lighting– transformative technologies enabled by the Internet of things (IoT) that can save small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) a lot of money immediately. We also reviewed the underrealized potential of empowered voice assistants to direct and control other IoT devices and intermesh with calendars and task management apps, thereby helping SMB owners focus on the strategic decision making their business needs to prosper.
In this article we will continue to reveal you with IoT inspired transformative technologies which your business can adopt immediately, at minimal cost, while boosting productivity and product experience. Are you ready? Well, brace yourselves for:
4. Supply chain loggers.
This is one area where IoT enabled devices offer SMBs (as well as larger, established institutes), an intuitive opportunity to cut down on costs and boost efficiency. To note just a single potential application, it is possible to use IoT enabled containers and storage areas to tag milk, eggs, fresh fish and meat, soft cheeses and monitor localized temperature and humidity, and even shocks during transportation. Just imagine how many extended arguments between suppliers and vendors about liability for broken eggs and spilled milk could be avoided if the packing crates were IoT enabled!
Everyone wins. The supplier reduces costs by being able to verify careful and proper shipping, avoiding legal entanglements and a hit to his reputation. Conversely, if he finds his employees or practices were at fault he can take immediate remedial action – even before the vendor notices the problem! The vendor in turn can eliminate badly maintained products before selling them to the end consumer, and thereby reduce both labor costs and consumer complaints. As for the consumer, in addition to the enjoying some fraction of the reduced supplier and vendor costs, he can also look forward to fewer cases of food poisoning and upset digestive tracks.
But IoT enabled product tracking and data logging can do more than track delivery and maintenance conditions for sensitive products. It can also be used to track delivery schedules, and even internal movements of materials and finished products within a manufacturing facility. And we haven’t even gotten into inventory management yet. The question is not what type of business can use this IoT application, but what business can’t!
5. Barcode readers and RFID tags.
Barcode readers? This hardly seems all that innovative. After all, large scale retailers have used bar code readers for several decades. Barcode readers enable multipurpose data gathering, including but not limited to inventory mapping and tracking within a given establishment. So far, so good. So why bother mentioning them in this article?
Because thanks to the IoT, and ubiquitous smartphones, these same benefits can now be employed by SMBs, not just large retailers. What all of these devices have in common is that they collec.t data. Any modern technician/programmer worth his salt can integrate this data into an SMBs inventorying system.