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What smart technology really means for business

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Smart technology (IoT), is simply about connecting devices, but while the focus has been on technology that facilitates the creation of smart households, its business applications are endless, writes Keith Fenner, vice-president of Sage X3 International.
According to BI Intelligence, it is projected that, by 2020, 34-billion devices will be connected to the Internet.
While we have heard many international examples of the use of smart technology, in Africa there are more and more examples of the technology being tested and implemented.
Smart technology has the potential to change everything and every business needs to consider what these will be and how it will affect them.
Here are six ways that smart technology will affect your business:
* An opportunity to think bigger, much bigger – While some businesses may see smart technology as a threat, others will be able to see the opportunities. The change in focus should not be just about connecting devices, but understanding how the new technology will create information that can then become a commodity for the business.
* Marketing will change – The opportunities for marketing will be different, as a more targeted approach will become the new norm. Business will now be able to avoid spending budget on large spray and pray campaigns and create a personalised customer experience on a set of smart connected devices or screens.
* More efficient real-time operations – The connection of all devices and business processes will give decision makers a real-time view of its operations. This will provide an opportunity for smarter decisions to be made based on more accurate data.
* Making smarter products – Innovation is the name of the smart technology game and with connected devices; businesses will be able to create smarter and more useful connected products.
* Security will become top of mind – A drawback to this revolution is the increased security threat that they pose. As hackers find new ways to breach current security precautions, a threat analysis will be required.
* A more efficient workforce – Smart technology has the unfounded reputation that its implementation will replace jobs – this is not the case. The introduction of smart technology in a workplace allows for an increased productive and efficient workforce.
There is no doubt that smart technology will have a significant impact on business. Certain employment positions may fall away, but these will be replaced with more opportunities for different positions.
In a time of seismic technological change and digital invention, smart people creating the smartest technology will re-invent and simplify business.