Contributor: Laila Afreen, Nascenia The future is now. But is your company living in it? Businesses are now looking to the Internet of Things (IoT) to revolutionize the way people live their lives. From smart light bulbs that change hue as per user preference to Taxis that use GPS to locate customers and vice versa. The potential for IoT is as far and wild as the imagination goes. How Does IoT Work for a Business? IoT is basically a network of physical objects connected to one another that can be controlled and monitored through the internet. These objects range from a simple light bulb to robots that manufacture cars. Sensors, microchips and other tracking devices attached to these objects collect data on a continual basis, creating a rich database. The collected data is then interpreted using analytics by businesses for a number of avenues, starting from improving customer experience with their products to the way businesses are run. How is IoT Changing Businesses? Enabling smarter product design The current obsession with ‘smart’ products has opened doors for products ideas that were previously thought to be impossible (or even comical to some! Fancy a smart frying pan?). From the already existing wearable fitness devices to smart self-driven cars. The room for innovation keeps getting bigger. Faster and Smarter Business Decisions A simultaneous stream of real-time data has now transformed the way businesses make decisions. Rolls - Royce for instance, uses sensors in their aircraft engines to monitor its functioning. This enables them to detect and diagnose any malfunctions, saving the company both money and time. Business Model Overhaul The traditional business model had been to create value for the customer through better pricing or by maximizing profits through the sale of discrete products (read Gillette's razor - and - blade model of selling). Presently, the scenario has gone through a sea change with the focus shifted to continual customer engagement through, value-added services, app purchases and other revenue-generating activities. IoT Applications to Look out for Business aspirants looking to break into the IoT scene can look into the following areas of application. Wearables Companies such as Jawbone, Fitbit, and Motorola are already making a wave in the market with wearable wrist devices that record heartbeat, sleeping patterns, track activities, send call notifications and even function as personal trainers based on the data collected. Healthcare The healthcare industry has benefited greatly from the connectivity afforded by IoT. From smart medicine dispensers and fall detectors that affords the elderly an independent lifestyle to life-saving medical fridges that regulate and maintains vaccines, organs etc, the future of the healthcare industry is anything but dull. Smart Automobiles E taxi service provider, Uber is reaping some mean benefits from their app where the user can reserve a closely available taxi without any physical cash transaction, saving many the hassle of haggling or ‘longest route’ journeys to increase the fare. Automobile manufacturers such as Ford, Tesla, BMW are also flexing some IoT muscle with their connected car platforms. Tech giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft are also dabbling into the into the same. Home Automation From remote activation, deactivation and regulation of everyday appliances to sensing intruders or unusual activity, devices functioning though IoT platforms are beginning to see a steady acceptance by an increasing number of tech-savvy homeowners. Retail On the consumer’s end, Intelligent shopping applications where consumers receive suggestions and offer based on their buying behavior and preferences. While on the retailer’s end, smart product management allows for automatic restocking facilities. Brick and mortar retail stores are also seeing a steady but promising revival with iBeacon. I hope that helps. Please check some other blogs on the web and mobile app development.