With every passing day, the Internet of Things becomes a larger and more integral part of our personal and professional lives. A seemingly limitless array of connected devices, embedded with sensors and software, are helping make the things we do easier, faster, more efficient, and better informed.
IoT is certainly now starting to make a real mark in the business world in particular. Organisations all over the world are seeing the potential of IoT to monitor their business-critical processes (and perhaps even automate them), gain more detailed insights for informed decision-making, and trim inefficiency out of normal day-to-day operations.
But how does this work in practice? What are the specific use cases for IoT? And how can it be kept secure? All of these questions will be answered in this blog.
How can IoT enable efficiencies?
Understanding the full potential of IoT in delivering business efficiency requires a degree of thinking outside the box – and that’s because the potential lies in just about every area of a business that you can think of. Here are a few examples:
- Making sense of data: never before have businesses had access to so much information – and it’s increasing all the time. IoT devices can collect this data, and its supporting software can help pick out the most relevant and important information to drive insights.
- Rationalising software: with so many different applications around, it’s easy for businesses to become disjointed and fragmented technologically. Applying one overarching IoT ecosystem can ensure all technologies talk to each other, and keep data more consistent.
- Reducing workload: connected to the previous point, if employees have access to a single source of data truth that’s shared across every application, their time won’t be wasted by replicating data entry or being hampered by inconsistencies.
- Removing hardware: an IoT ecosystem enables all business data to be hosted in the cloud, which means instant savings in utility and real estate.
Where can IoT be deployed?
Dig even deeper and you’ll find some very specific use cases where IoT can be beneficial. As an example, how businesses deal with documents can be transformed with IoT:
- Scanning and archiving: paper documents that need to be archived can be scanned and digitised through the IoT network for cloud storage, either on-premise or at the facility of an expert partner. This can eliminate the need for huge archive and filing facilities for businesses that have to hold onto documents for legal reasons and make it much easier to prove data compliance in an era of tighter regulations such as GDPR.
- Digital inbound mail: in a similar way to the point above, incoming mail can be scanned and routed to the intended recipient digitally. This can make a major difference to business efficiency, and to employee experience, in an era of hybrid and flexible work where employees aren’t always in the office to pick up mail in person.
- Mail tray sensors: IoT sensors in mail trays can automatically alert a recipient – or in some cases a department – when mail is placed into them, so that they’re aware they have mail to collect. This removes the risk of unnecessary trips into the office where employees are working remotely, or wasted time travelling to each mail tray across large estates.
How can IoT be secured?
Of course, as with any technology, IoT can pose a significant security risk if not implemented properly. Every device is a potential point that a cybercriminal can exploit and gain access to sensitive data across the entire ecosystem.
That’s why it’s vital that every single connected device within the IoT network is proactively monitored, 24 hours a day, seven days a week for irregular traffic, activity, or access. At the same time, all devices should be patched and have their firmware updated at the earliest opportunity, when such updates become available.
This can be a major burden for an in-house IT team to manage, especially if the IoT ecosystem in place is large. This is where the help of an expert partner can shoulder that burden and maintain the security of the network throughout.
SCC’s innovation for IoT
If you partner with SCC, you can get that experience and support, along with the benefit of years of expertise in all the Document Services functions that a typical business runs. We can give you a total package for IoT, encompassing consultancy that establishes the right solutions for you, device and data management, dashboarding that gives you all the vital information you need, incident and event alerting, data reporting and insights, and much more.
With our help, you can exploit the full potential of IoT in how you handle your business documentation, with none of the stress and a vastly reduced security risk.
Find out more about how SCC can support you with Document Services here.