5 Ways IoT Technology Can Boost Productivity

The Internet of Things has the potential to touch every aspect of our lives and, in doing so, improve our efficiency and productivity in each of those areas. Sometimes, given the sheer range of opportunities afforded by the IoT, it’s difficult to envision exactly what those use cases look like and how they’ll make life and work easier. Let’s look at five ways IoT technology can boost productivity and/or maximize efficiency in different areas of life.


Welcome to the dawn of the smart office, where connected sensors improve employee productivity through automation. IoT-enabled meeting rooms and smart scheduling systems can improve space management and coordination as well as collaboration between employees who are in the office and those who are calling in from remote locations. Sensors in meeting rooms, for example, can sense when people enter the room and streamline tasks like turning on equipment and dialing into the conference bridge.


IoT sensors placed around the office can also provide insights into how and when employees move about the office. This insight into foot traffic can enable companies to improve traffic flow. Workspaces can be rearranged to provide employees easier access to conference rooms and other resources, while distractions can be identified and minimized.


In environments where valuable equipment is used, such as hospitals or schools, the IoT can be used for location tracking. Equipment and devices can be geographically tagged so that workers save time locating equipment and the organization reduces costs associated with loss.


Say goodbye to downtime and four-hour service windows. The IoT will enable field service organizations to minimize — and possibly eliminate — downtime from broken products and the amount of time you spend dealing with customer service to have them repaired. Connected sensors on appliances and technical products (like your cable box) will detect and diagnose malfunctions before they impact you and send an alert to the appropriate technician to schedule a repair. The right parts will be ordered in advance of the service call so that your technician is prepared to address the problem in a single visit. Some fixes may even be automated so that when a particular alert is triggered, remediation actions follow.


The smart home is already coming to life as owners implement thermostats, window controls, connected video cameras and more in their living spaces. The ability to close curtains and adjust the temperature in individual rooms can help improve energy efficiency and maintain a comfortable environment. With smart video cameras, home security systems are a commodity. The ability to keep an eye on your property from anywhere and control utilities, for example, can help homeowners reduce the risk of property damage, like frozen pipes.


How would you like to get home faster during rush hour? Or reduce your fuel costs? The IoT can reduce traffic congestion and improve fuel efficiency when you’re on the road. Connected cars can “talk” to streetlights and adjust their speed, or suggest a different route to avoid roadwork, an accident or traffic congestion. But you don’t have to buy a high-end car to benefit from the IoT while on the road. Smart cities are installing connected traffic lights that analyze traffic patterns and adjust traffic light operations to better control the flow of traffic, or automatically reroute traffic. Signage and lights can even be controlled to allow first responders to get to their destination faster and more safely.


The need to shop for groceries and other household items reduces the amount of time we have outside of work to be with loved ones, work on a labor of love or to simply relax. Thanks to the IoT, the entire shopping experience is becoming more streamlined, enabling customers to complete their shopping in less time. Data from sensors throughout a store can help managers determine the best way to organize products to optimize traffic flow so customers can move through the store more easily. Sensors in doorways can gauge how many customers are entering versus leaving, and prompt employees to open additional cash registers to accommodate an influx of business.


Or how about skipping the checkout line altogether? Retailers are also experimenting with a variety of IoT solutions that enable customers to bypass the checkout queue. Customers can scan and pay for products via a smartphone app or, as in the case of Amazon, grab the products they need and simply walk out the store. The checkout and payment processes are completely automated.


Why even leave your home to shop? With connected technology like Amazon Dash Buttons, reordering products you use often is literally as easy as a click of a button. The functionality is even being incorporated into devices themselves. The Dash Replenishment Service enables connected devices to automatically order products from Amazon when supplies are running low.

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Stanley Lin