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Navin Saini

Business Head - Retail, Micro & SME, Arka Fincap Limited

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Intelligent Technologies Defining A New Paradigm For SMEs

On demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without the direct active management by the user is what is known as Cloud Computing.

SMEs are considered to have a major contribution in employment generation and also to the overall GDP of any economy. They are now emerging as a focal point of all new technological innovations. More and more innovators are now developing intelligent technologies which cater to the ever-growing requirements of the Small Businesses. This is further fuelled from the fact that the market opportunity is humungous at the global scale. Here are some of the recent technologies which are clearly helping the SME Businesses grow at a global scale.

1. Internet of Things (IOT)

Internet of Things (IoT) has emerged as one of the most prominent technology trends and has been the talking point in recent times. It is often used interchangeably with ‘Industry 4.0’. While the internet initially meant wide scale networking of computers, today, devices of every shape and size from kitchen appliances, to cars to industrial equipment are getting connected and are sharing real time information digitally, on a global scale.

This has promised paradigm shifts, especially in business applications and consumer product markets. Consumer IoT is being used almost everywhere and is already a part of our lives. Think Alexa, Google Home, wearables like Apple watch, Fitbits, Smart Sensors, Monitoring devices, and many more. Global giants have started controlling costs and optimising processes through the use of IOT. SMEs are a huge market that are all set to leverage IoT’s potential. A recent Gartner study shows more than 80 percent Companies that chose to implement IoT technology feel that they are getting more ROI than expected. (Source : Internet of Things: Unlocking True Digital Business Potential © 2019 Gartner Inc)

Cloud Computing

On demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without the direct active management by the user is what is known as Cloud Computing.

Cloud Computing and IOT

When you wake up in the morning with nice music playing as an alarm and when you reach out for your morning cup of coffee and you get to know about the latest news including your favourite team winning the match followed by the weather report in the city you plan to travel. That’s the combined power of Cloud Computing and IOT. Millions of developers and tech Companies are now working on the application of IOT and Cloud Computing. IOT has already started disrupting domains such as Education, Architecture, Supply Chain etc.

(Source : Jigsawacademy)

IoT For Small Businesses

IOT can be termed as any gadget or appliance which can connect with us through the use of the internet and is considered as a dimension of information gathering and analysis. SMEs can manage every dimension of their business using the IOT technology as it serves them the opportunity for hyper-customization and minute process control to further empower their businesses. IoT is capable of resolving the regular business problems and reducing process hindrances successfully, which further helps the SMEs to improve productivity and develop a cost effective business model.

Let's look at some common business requirements that IoT serves exceptionally well.

● Smart Locks

Internet-enabled smart locks are equipped to benefit the businesses especially in retail and manufacturing and gives them the privilege to access the physical spaces remotely by allowing change of password, logging and revoking access without human presence on the location.

 Smart Cams

Smart Cams are another example of IoT devices empowering Small Businesses. These Internet enabled video cameras can record HD footage and sync it to the cloud storage. As a result – businesses don’t have to invest in CCTV cameras that are considered to be an expensive affair. This helps them keep an eye on the operational areas and also record the activities for future references.

 Smart RFID tags

Smart RFID tags can add enormous benefits to businesses dealing in the FMCG sector.

The RFID tags can record returns, sales, quality audits, etc. which can speed up the functioning of the stores without human intervention and are affordable at the same time.

 Equipment Maintenance

Equipment Downtime is a big drain for many Small Businesses and leads to huge losses. Imagine being able to conduct repairs and maintenance before downtime even happens. That’s IoT sensors coming to the rescue, which can eventually warn the owners about the breakdown beforehand so that the required maintenance can be taken care of.

● Energy Management

IoT technology is now being extensively used in homes to reduce costs. The same applies to Small Businesses who work with limited financial resources. Lower energy consumption with temperature can be a cost effective measure and enable major savings for SMEs. IoT devices are able to manage the appliances when they are shut off which in turn increases the life of the machine.

Another important tech innovation which is happening around us is the emergence of Blockchain technologies. Now the next move is to make it reach the SMEs with what is called a Blockchain as a Service (BaaS). In fact it presents many newer possibilities.

2. Blockchain as a service (BaaS)

Fortune Business Insights reported that the global blockchain as a service market is set to reach ~$25B by year 2027, @ a CAGR of around 40% mainly fuelled by its multiple advantages for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). 

Businesses globally are quickly adapting blockchain-based solutions in various sectors including, supply chains, healthcare, finance, real-time payments and many more. With the growing demand and its numerous benefits, Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) solutions are becoming increasingly popular. This is primarily Blockchain technology being offered in the cloud as a service model. This is more or less similar to Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and more. BaaS model enables organizations of all types and sizes to leverage blockchain-based solutions without bearing the development cost. Thus, businesses can build products and services based on blockchain quickly and effectively.

(Source : 8 Blockchain Application Ideas That Could Help Your Small Business by John Rampton)

Benefits of BaaS for SMEs

● Faster deployment

With the ready infrastructure in place, one of the main advantages of the BaaS model is that all the codes and modules are inbuilt and a customer just needs to customise the solutions based on their requirements.

● Minimal Costs

SMEs with minimal access to capital are likely to function on a budget constraint. BaaS offers an opportunity to build solutions quickly and at a minimal cost, as it eliminates the need for hiring blockchain developers and acquiring the infrastructure. This comes as a boon for Small Businesses.

● Hit the Ground Running

Companies which offer BaaS do not need to start everything from scratch and can start development of the desired modules right away without the need to build base modules and systems.

● Highly Customizable

On one side SMEs can draw the benefits of pre-built platforms, they can also get the customized solution based on their needs. This provides enough flexibility to enable SMEs to build their personalized solutions thereby helping them to penetrate the market and quickly gain market share.

Important Take Away

Baas uncomplicates the Blockchain concept and makes it more adaptable for small and medium-sized businesses and has the potential to become a game changer in the SME ecosystem.

In the end it must be said that the above two Intelligent Technologies viz. IOT & BaaS can re-define and are able to bring a new paradigm for SMEs and adopting them can make Small Businesses competitive not only domestically but also globally.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house



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