A car that keeps you connected, refrigerators that speak to you, smart electric meters. These sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but they’re the new reality in a booming Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is an ecosystem of information–connected devices that bring the virtual world into our realities–and it’s changing the lives of consumers and companies more and more each day. Here are five ways the IoT could be affecting your business:

1. We’re getting closer to our customers.

Smart phones, wearables, digital consoles—your customers are already connected 24/7, in and out of their homes. These devices are creating more and more opportunities for consumers to connect, which includes connecting with your business. Whether you offer a wristband during a customer experience, have an app that can track shopping habits or track energy usage through a home device, the not-so-distant future is full of endless ways to collect consumer data and know your customers better than ever before.

2. Big data means big competition.

Collecting more data from your customers means more knowledge on what they want, where they are and why they make certain purchase decisions. This information is data gold, and you won’t be the only business that has access to it. More data means more competition, so these smarter devices have to come with smarter strategy. Using collected data in ways that align with your brand will not only enhance your business, it can enhance the customer experience.

3. Less privacy, more security.

The more we are connected, the more information is at stake. While collecting consumer data is becoming easier than ever—it’s also getting easier to steal this data. Lucky for businesses (and consumers), securing information is also getting easier. Cyber security can range from simple access control to more complex firewalling. What’s important is that your business understands the risks and ensures security measures that meet your brand’s needs.

4. Your inventory will get smarter.

Tracking technology means knowing where everything is at all times. Whether it’s products and goods, equipment or vehicles—you can geographically tag anything and track it. Tracking can help you fill orders faster, work more efficiently and reduce loss.

5. Automated resources = more revenue.

When every device, piece of equipment and even energy usage are automated for optimal performance, your business will become extremely efficient—resulting in more revenue. Machines can work autonomously. Equipment notifies you when it’s not working properly. Printers can even order their own ink. Find what can be automated in your industry and capitalize on those resources.

The business of the future is, without a doubt, smarter. But it’s up to you create better business strategies and better products or services with the technology available. When used efficiently, The Internet of Things benefits companies and consumers. As the technology emerges and changes the market, now’s the time to find the best fit for turning your smarter business into smarter profits. View our IT support services.