Last updated on July 7th, 2022 at 11:33 am
Small businesses often shun technology because of the perceived costs. However, the digital era is teaching enterprises that their business is likely to perish if they don’t adapt. As such, more and more organizations are investing in new innovative technology.
Smart technology spending, especially those for the Internet of Things (IoT), is expected to rise in the coming years, based on the report entitled “Worldwide Internet of Things Spending Guide.” Released by research firm IDC, the report further estimates the sector’s annual growth rate at 11.3% from 2020 until 2024. (1)
IoT is only one of the types of technology available for enterprise use. Read on to learn how businesses can leverage innovative technology for growth.
Improve customer experience
Like this software from Jobber, which can be customized for chimney sweeping and other niche service businesses, enterprises can use smart business technology to provide the best customer service. The former integrates core business processes such as invoicing, staff dispatching and monitoring, and customer relationship management.
Similarly, customer service chatbots and appointment scheduling platforms can improve customer satisfaction. Instead of spending a few hours on the phone booking appointments, users can do the job in just a few taps on a smartphone device. This intelligent technology can also send appointment reminder notifications, reducing missed appointments and no-shows. (2)
Moreover, chatbots have helped small businesses tide through a lack of workforce. Instead of outsourcing live customer representatives, enterprises can use pre-programmed chatbots to accommodate customers’ queries and concerns 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (2)
To further ease purchasing transactions, companies can tap online payment service providers to accept online payments from clients who choose to pay via a digital wallet, credit, or debit card. Businesses can also benefit by ensuring revenues are sent directly to their accounts. (2)
1. Minimize overhead costs
Innovative technology can be used in several ways to reduce business spending. Instead of sending a printed document as traditional contractors did in the past, service companies can electronically mail a quote using a free and fully customizable estimate template. Besides saving on paper, this technology can save fuel costs and hasten transactions.
Small businesses can also use smart technology by embedding sensors in fixtures such as lighting, water heating systems, and thermostats for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Innovative technology senses if there are no people or movements in the area and automatically shuts off the power to save costs. Some appliances with IoT integration, such as refrigerators and dishwashers, can also be controlled using an app. (2) (3)
Innovative technologies can also ensure your enterprise assets are protected. Using intelligent locks, you can provide access only to authorized employees and monitor who enters and leaves the premises. Instead of using keys that can be misplaced or stolen, you can use your smartphone to control and manage access remotely. Smart security cameras not only take videos of your office but can also be connected to the company’s energy-saving system. (2) (4)
2. Enhance supply chain management
Managing a supply chain is crucial to many small businesses, especially those that require raw materials. Smart technology can help boost supply chain efficiency by using sensors and tracking systems that help senders and recipients locate products within the supply chain. The same holds for temperature-sensitive commodities, where monitoring controls can also be accessed. These contribute to consumer satisfaction and, more importantly, enable organizations to ensure product integrity. (1)
If you’re running a transport or delivery business, installing IoT devices can help track vehicles and ensure safety. Insurance firms also utilize trackers to get insights into driving behaviors, which help determine insurance rates and premium costs. Smart technology can also be used for route optimization and real-time information on road safety and conditions. (1)
3. Facilitate remote working
Several small businesses have embraced remote working arrangements to continue with their operations. Smart technology can assist such businesses by enabling safe connections regardless of the distance. Apps are available to promote better collaboration, such as printers that can receive inputs from authorized devices within your network or smart portable printers that team members can use even outside the office premises. (2)
Your field sales teams can tap smart device casting to make impromptu client presentations. You or your remote field workers can use wearable cameras to attend meetings, take photos of documents, and record videos of maintenance and safety inspections, repairs, cleaning, and other tasks. Amid its impending pervasive use, businesses have to ensure IT security when integrating innovative technology into their operations. (2) (4)
Smart technology has several applications in business, regardless of the niche and size. With core benefits including operational and cost optimization, these innovations are attractive prospects for small businesses that want to save on expenditures while improving efficiency. Like the internet, it will likely become a necessity instead of a luxury for companies that aim to grow.
- “Top 8 IoT applications and examples in businesses”, Source https://www.techtarget.com/iotagenda/tip/Top-8-IoT-applications-and-examples-in-business
- “How Do I Use Smart Small Business Technology?”, Source: https://www.constellation.com/solutions/for-your-small-business/goals/using-smart-small-business-technology.html
- “Your business can save money with smart technology”, Source: https://www.verizon.com/about/our-company/fourth-industrial-revolution/your-business-can-save-money-smart-technology
- “6 Smart Tech Tools to Transform Your Small Business Using IoT”, Source: https://www.inc.com/comcast/cool-gadgets-and-connected-apps.html