The market for connected devices is growing faster than ever – as does the potential for turning this growth into business opportunities. But what are the ways in which we can use some of these innovations in improving business and profits in the future?

The growth boom of IoT

According to Statista, the worldwide installed base of connected devices will double in just five years from 2018 to 2023, ballooning from 23 billion to more than 50 billion. This means we are all likely to see improved functionality in our daily technology use, but it also means there is no better time for businesses to ride the IoT wave and use it to improve service offerings as well as performance.

In this article we’ll take a look at four of the most innovative connected devices on the market today, and how they are being used to improve businesses as well as life.

  1. Smart door locks
    Smart locks have been around for a good few years, but they have recently started to become a very popular option for multi-tenant property owners such as AirBnB hosts. Brands like RemoteLock and Latch have grabbed a large chunk of the smart lock market by providing cloud-generated door codes, time-restricted access and keyless entry options.There are of course many business scenarios where smart locks can help to reduce costs overall. Any organisation that requires many individual entries and exits will welcome the option to not have to handle keys or access cards, if it means they can still offer the same customer experience and same level of security – or higher. The overheads of producing and managing keys can easily be reduced or eliminated through the use of locks and virtual keys managed in the cloud.
  2. Interactive toys
    Startup company Elemental Path recently developed the first interactive children’s toy to tap into the AI (Artificial Intelligence) system IBM Watson: A connected device in the form of a talking dinosaur. The toy gradually learns new information about its owner, based on interactions and questions asked. This takes the industry of children’s learning and interactive toys to a whole new level, as it allows an adapted experience for each individual – and thanks to all the processing being done in the cloud, the toy itself becomes both lightweight and inexpensive.The market for interactive learning toys is in itself an interesting one, but there are also many business scenarios where connected devices can play a really strong role in the workplace. For example, imagine a factory where each machine is able to teach you how to use it – or an office where interactive assistants are helping staff members to structure their day by prioritising or automating tasks.
  3. Tracking
    There isn’t much that can’t be tracked and monitored using a connected device, as we’ve seen over the years through tracking devices for keyrings, bicycles, luggage and even cattle. But one of the smartest new additions to the tracking family is the vehicle tracking device that lets you keep an eye on trip logs and location boundaries in real time – while also tapping into vehicle health data to keep you fully updated on the car’s condition and performance.Tracking technology can of course save money for businesses in various ways, but it is also an area that needs to be managed very closely in terms of what data is being monitored – and how it is then used. The most cost-effective tracking solutions will be the ones that can quickly add value to the business by reducing manual monitoring, whilst also by-passing any issues of sensitive data storage.
  4. Health
    The Wyss Institute is in the process of developing microchips which mimic the activity and responses of human organs. This means they can create complete models of how the various organs of the human body interconnect and communicate with each other – allowing pharmaceutical companies to quickly develop and test new drugs without the need to run costly trials.Connected devices that interlink with the human body is a growing market, but it’s still something that many people feel a great deal of hesitation around, as it in many ways blurs the lines between human and machine. However, for any business involved in clinical trials or drug development, man-made solutions and IoT technology will most likely play a huge role in order for them to be competitive in the future.

Adopting IoT in your industry

Regardless of your industry, it’s worth considering ways in which you can adopt the innovations of IoT and enhancing your offering. Consumers as well as businesses are becoming more used to being able to connect one service to another, to have a richer or more profitable end result.

Businesses in the manufacturing industry should be looking at ways of enhancing their equipment to communicate with other devices, while service-based organisations should understand which hardware they could connect with or extend their data to.