We live in a world that is becoming increasingly connected, thanks to the growing accessibility of wifi and innovations in the tech field. Everything can be made “smart” now, and the Internet of Things is making everything easier, including running your small business.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Internet of Things, the simplest way to describe it is that it’s the connectivity of household and workplace objects through wifi to the internet.
Your smart phone can connect with your home’s lighting fixtures and thermostat, allowing you to program and adjust them when you’re not home. Your sprinklers can monitor water levels in the soil and turn themselves on only when necessary. Overall, the Internet of Things allows you to optimise your home or office to allow for maximum energy efficiency, safety, and health. Sounds great, right?
But how can the Internet of Things make life easier for you, as a small business owner? Here are seven items to consider…
1. Smart plugs
These plugs are a great way to get started in the home or office automation game. You simply plug them into a regular socket, then plug in whatever object you’re planning to use, and connect via the app on your phone. Then you can get started with turning on lights, fans, heaters, or anything else, remotely.
Some of these plugs, such as Awair Glow, can monitor your work environment’s air quality, turning on your air purifier, air conditioner, or other device when the air quality reaches a certain threshold.
2. Video doorbell
Not only is a video doorbell convenient in terms of maintaining productivity when you’re on a deadline (who wants to answer the door to the cable TV salesperson?), but it can serve as an extra layer of security. When you’re working in the same building as all of your stock, you don’t want to let just anyone in the door without knowing who they are first.
3. Dash buttons
If you haven’t yet heard of these little devices that Amazon is selling, they are an amazing way to streamline regular purchases, for your home or office.
Need to replenish toilet paper or kitchen supplies on a regular basis? Get one for each product you buy, and when you press that button, Amazon will send you the product and automatically charge your account. It definitely beats getting in the car and queuing at the supermarket.
Smart thermostats make a lot of sense in an office environment, when you think about it. Wouldn’t it be great to adjust the thermostat on holidays, when no one will be coming into the office?
If, for example, you leave your building empty over Christmas and there is a sudden temperature drop, you can make sure (from the comfort of your home) that you won’t return to frozen burst pipes.
5. Lights and light switches
Having a programmable light switch that allows you to brighten or dim according to your preference is only the beginning. You can also find lightbulbs that adjust their hue to help you concentrate or wind down, and light sockets you can attach to regular lightbulbs, making them reactive to smart technology.
This is great news for window displays or businesses that need to provide a certain ambience for customers (perhaps your pub-cum-restaurant becomes more like a bar at night and needs to switch up the mood…)
6. Smart lock
Wouldn’t it be great not to have to worry about employees losing keys and key cards anymore? Smart locks allow you to enter by entering a code either on a physical keypad, or entering the code into the app on your smartphone. Smart locks can also keep track of who is entering the building and when, which is an added layer of security.
7. Home security system
When you work out of your home, but are still building a small empire, security is important. Having motion sensors, cameras, smoke and water detectors, all connected to your phone and the cloud, are just the beginning of what smart security systems are capable of. Protecting your inventory, no matter where you are, is easier than ever.