Effective Applications of Smart Tech for SMEs

Smart Technology has myriad uses for the small to medium enterprise, even if your business has nothing to do with digital technology. It can save time, money, increase security and efficiency while only costing a fraction of the outlay for more traditional technologies.

With Smart Automation it’s possible to save costs in areas such as:

Security monitoring

Energy consumption

Access control

Online meetings

Inventory, stock control and asset management

A Smart video doorbell is much more than just a door monitor. Your traditional door monitor will let anyone who’s sitting at reception see on the monitor who’s calling and allow them to decide whether to let them in or not. Because Smart Technology isn’t tied to wires or desk mounted monitors that means that the images can be sent to anybody at any time, meaning there’s no need for someone to have to be at reception to let visitors in.

Expand upon this idea slightly and you get to full Smart Access Control. Employees and visitors can be issued with unique codes which will allow access to specific parts of the building. These codes can be changed any number of times, so if security is compromised by a code being revealed, you change a supplier, promote people who then need greater access or, unfortunately, need to deny access to a former employee, it can all be done simply by updating the data.

A Smart Security System has several benefits over CCTV video recording or monitored live images too. While large CCTV cameras are a great visible deterrent to crime, as well as capturing and storing images, they have their limitations. Smart CCTV cameras are small enough to go anywhere, cheap enough to buy in bulk and provide superior images and sound recordings which are stored off site in the cloud, meaning that the evidence they capture can’t be stolen, erased or otherwise destroyed. Again, because it’s smart, the images can be sent to a computer or phone, so if you have on-site security they will be able to see activity within your estates without having to be at the monitor at all times.

If you’re familiar with Smart Lighting at home you’ll know how useful it is for mood, energy efficiency and controllability. Lights linked to motion sensors aren’t new, nor is sound activation, but using Smart LED lights allows you infinitely more control. You can operate all the lights in a building through a single voice command or touch screen, individuals can manage the lights in their specific area, adjusting not only the brightness, but the colour too. And because they’re LED instead of fluorescent, they are far more energy efficient as well.

Alongside lighting, Smart Climate and temperature controls allow for increased controllability, throughout the entire building, and for individuals at work. For example, employees working on the south side of any building are going to have different needs from their colleagues working on the north side, and Smart Climate Controls allow for that perfectly. Air conditioning, heating and blinds operated by individuals instead of a central thermostat mean that conditions can be controlled to perfection for each area, rather than creating an environment which is ‘least uncomfortable’ for everyone.

Just like security, safety is a key concern for any SME, especially if they have stock which is valuable, or on-site staff and customers. While fitting smoke and carbon monoxide detectors isn’t mandatory, “an appropriate fire detection system” is. Traditional fire alarms for business will alert the fire service, but they still have to get in, and if fire breaks out outside of your working hours that means getting through locked doors and windows. Smart fire detectors can not only raise the alarm, they can specify which area the fire is in, and open doors so that anyone inside can escape, and the fire fighters can get access without having to cause more damage getting in.

Similarly Smart Leak Detectors placed in an area which is liable to suffer from leaks can save you a fortune if a pipe bursts during a cold snap, someone leaves a tap running, or there is damage to pipes which would have otherwise gone undetected. Leak detectors work by assessing the amount of moisture in the air, so while they can’t prevent leaks, they can help prevent damage to stock by alerting you of a problem early.

If you’re going to control a number of Smart Devices in your workspace it’s worth investing in a digital assistant such as a Smart Speaker, touchpad, or Smart Display as they afford not only an excellent interface, they can be used independently to run routines, set alarms, reminders of appointments, communicate with other staff members, dictate and search emails as well as the web, and even order in food if you miss lunch!

Smart Technology also exists for supply chain and logistics. Connected devices can be used to track shipments, isolate pinch points, monitor emissions, and use GPS for tracking and up-to-date fulfilment scheduling. GPS trackers can be attached to assets which need to be easily located, or which are liable to be stolen. Being able to track shipping consignments, assets, vehicles and containers means you always know precisely where things are, removing the guesswork from deliveries, and the detective work when it comes to tracking down lost, stolen, diverted or misplaced products and property.

Originally published at https://dancash.substack.com.