Automation is opening IoT doors to hesitant businesses
As much as the Internet of Things brings an undeniable level of convenience to our personal and professional lives, it still faces issues with adoption. There are many reasons organisations might not have yet jumped on this component of business, yet constantly advancing and improving methods of automation and production are working to eliminate these barriers and improve versatility to an unprecedented scale.
As we move towards a more integrated future, the remaining businesses have to ask themselves where their remaining issues come from, and how might automation better bridge gaps to allow for a more developed future.
Issues of Adoption
As with any new technology, some of the largest obstacles to mainstream use are often a case of ignorance of the specifics. There are many facets of business which have remained almost unchanged since the dawn of civilisation and a similar idea of importance put on tradition can be a huge hamper to modern development. Simply put – if something has always worked in one way, people might not be inclined to try it in another. This is doubly true when involving modern technology, which many traditionalists view as untested, and therefore untrustworthy. While this can sometimes prove true, it also leaves these businesses at the mercy of their competition, as some will succeed because of these new technologies like the IoT, not in spite of them.
“Switch!” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by andrewfhart
The other wall here is the more technologically direct. That is, if a business does not have access to a reliable internet connection or its related systems, then chances are that the advantages of the most modern innovations are going to be mitigated by these weak points. As online and network infrastructure has improved drastically recently, these issues are continuously lessened, but these improvements are not always consistent over different areas and types of business.
Those not in the loop of IoT practices are commonly surprised at the direction and extent of the current state of affairs. While this is usually the case with the ageing or those not technologically inclined, the same can also be true for those among us who simply lack the time or means to keep up with modern home and business innovation. Part of this may also stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of what the IoT can bring into our homes and businesses, writing its accomplishments off as something closer to unimportant affectation than useful additions to the way we go about daily tasks.
Smart fridges and other appliances which can communicate with our PCs, smartphones and other home devices are a prime example of this. While previously developments such as these might have been looked on with derision based on only a surface level understanding, a more in-depth engagement with what is possible reveals the benefits these can have with keeping track of dietary concerns, food expiration dates, and many other areas of concern. This extends to business-based developments which, while not as well-known as their at-home counterparts, offer the same advantages and general lack of public understanding.
“3D Printer” (Public Domain) by Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine
A great example of an up and coming industry which has really taken off in the last few years is that of 3D printing. While this idea has been around for a long while, with cutting devices like water-jets offering similar automated building systems, it wasn’t until recently that 3D printers entered the realm of real financial viability for the mass user. These have adopted in such a robust manner that their use can be ordered online, where they will automatically build a verified and paid for product, and automatically print shipping information to significantly cut down on what would previously have been labour intensive work.
We can also see better automation through the recent creation of more advanced robotic systems. Drone-based deliveries are a fine example of this, existing as they do as sky-based couriers which can be a huge boon to the speed and reliability of small package delivery. Likewise, advancements in statistical and prediction technologies have allowed products like forex robots to engage in automatic currency trading, working with trends and analysis in a way which used to have to be performed by a human hand but also doing it on a bigger scale, reaching levels of output that are arguably impossible to be a result of even the most skilled human. Even seemingly more simplistic devices like coffee makers and Roomba vacuums can be automated to a level of set and forget, removing annoying little elements which, while not taking a great deal of time individually, combine to create a greater time-waste than we realise. Even digital helpers like Amazon Alexa, the AI powering Amazon Echo, can help cut down on wasted time for simple internet searches, automating even the simplest of internet engagements.
While the general improvement of IoT technology has opened the door to a great many innovations, the real advantages of improved automation might result from a more inevitable reality of business. The markets of today are just as competitive as ever, and in this environment, cost-cutting measures and general efficiency methods have become increasingly necessities. Buying goods and services online is something which almost all of us have engaged in, and with good reason. Not only is this incredibly convenient, with the automated systems which remove human overhead cutting down on wasted time, but the added simplicity helps lower the costs for each transaction, which in turn helps stores give bigger savings to their customers. In this way, automation not only helps us purchase but forces market competition to similarly lower prices to keep competitive.
While this will and has caused problems with businesses who cannot or refuse to update to adjust to an evolving market, it has also led to the creation of a more developed automated marketplace. The exact products which allow for this automation are now cheaper for businesses to adopt than ever before, which help accelerate the business use of the IoT into this new age. Better integration and higher levels of automation and adoption are an inevitability, it’s just a matter of when.