How SMEs can use IoT for business growth

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the billions of ‘smart’ devices – anything from cars, to home appliances – that can connect to a network to collect and share data. In a time when Industry 4.0, or the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), is thriving, it’s no wonder we are finding ourselves more and more immersed in the possibilities of IoT.

In fact, according to Intel, by the year 2020 the IoT is expected to grow to a staggering two hundred billion connected objects around the world. In a world where smart technologies are evolving faster than ever, IoT will continue to provide unprecedented opportunities that businesses, large and small, should be harnessing if they are to survive and thrive in their sector, says Alison Mitchell, executive director at Sensor City.

Despite this, statistics show that SMEs are not adapting new technologies and as a result, they are limiting their chances of success. Business management consultant Analysys Mason recently revealed that 51% of UK SMEs were either unsure or unaware of IoT, while 23% were not interested in it at all.

However, unbeknown to many SMEs, there are resources out there created specifically to help breakdown the barrier between new technologies and budding entrepreneurs. An example of this is LCR 4.0, a business support programme that enables companies in the Liverpool City Region to explore Industry 4.0 technologies and the business impact that they can have.

Driving business growth

Incorporating IoT into processes is essential for SME business growth, and data is a big part of that. Retrieving and analysing big data analytics allows SMEs to better interact with their customers and therefore improve efficiency, reduce operational costs, validate decisions and identify trends.

In addition, incorporating IoT will provide SMEs with the tools to ensure they are keeping up to date with the latest technologies, allowing them to develop their innovative ideas into a reality. But with so many benefits, why is it that only 12% of UK SMEs are embracing IoT?

Addressing the barriers

Whether it’s their lack of resources, funding, awareness, or simply that they are slightly apprehensive about investing in something they haven’t seen any tangible benefits from, there are countless reasons why some SMEs are falling behind in the uptake of IoT and Industry 4.0 technologies.

A common misconception amongst SMEs is that investment must come from within their company. There are plenty of resources out there to help SMEs, entrepreneurs, and start-ups – you just need to know where to look.

Alison Mitchell

At Sensor City, a collaboration between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, for example, we offer businesses – from start-ups, SMEs to established companies – specialist sensor and IoT related equipment, software and lab spaces, as well as business support. Support like this is crucial to exploring the potential of IoT technologies and developing concepts into market-ready solutions.

Aqua Running for example, is an innovative company housed inside the Sensor City building. Founded by former Liverpool FC player, Terry Nelson, Aqua Running manufactures body suits designed to provide highly effective, no impact training in water. Working with Sensor City and partner LCR 4.0, Terry has been able to incorporate IoT technologies into these suits, which has led to substantial business growth. He now plans to add sensors and charging points into the suits to monitor users in the pool.

The future of IoT

It’s inevitable that Industry 4.0 technologies are going to become more advanced and in time, will change the lives of many, if not all of us. Whether we’re talking about integrating IoT into internal processes or across the supply chain, or making existing products smarter to drive bottom line improvements, it’s clear that SMEs need to get on board.

While it won’t happen overnight, there are steps that can be taken to ensure they are embracing IoT and are right there at the forefront of the latest technology. If SMEs are going to make the most of this opportunity and harness the potential for their business, there needs to be more education about the resources, like Sensor City and LCR 4.0, on hand to help.

The author of this blog is Alison Mitchell, executive director at Sensor City

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow OR @jcIoTnow


Ospitek, BEST Health System partner to improve the outpatient surgical experience with IoT, AI

Posted on: December 6, 2022

OSPITEK INC., the developer of the proprietary Digital Health platform VIEW, has partnered with Ohio’s BEST Health System to implement the VIEW software platform in BEST’s outpatient surgical centres. The VIEW platform is a cloud-based software and IoT enhanced, Ambulatory Surgery Centre (ASC) management and communication platform, designed for rapid adoption to compliment legacy EHR

Read more

KORE collaborates with Google Cloud to deliver IoT solutions

Posted on: December 6, 2022

KORE, a global specialist in Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions and worldwide IoT Connectivity-as-a-Service (IoT CaaS) has announced that it has established a go to market alliance with Google Cloud to bring IoT capabilities to global businesses.

Read more

The IoT Adoption Boom – Everything You Need to Know

Posted on: September 28, 2022

In an age when we seem to go through technology boom after technology boom, it’s hard to imagine one sticking out. However, IoT adoption, or the Internet of Things adoption, is leading the charge to dominate the next decade’s discussion around business IT. Below, we’ll discuss the current boom, what’s driving it, where it’s going,

Read more

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more