Phones. Doorbells. Kitchen appliances. Car engines. Home entertainment systems. These days, they’re all connected to the internet. Collectively, these connected devices — and any devices or equipment that are connected to the internet — make up the Internet of Things (IoT).

At the end of 2018, there were an estimated 22 billion ‘things’ connected worldwide. By 2030, this figure is expected to have more than doubled to around 50 billion IoT devices.

But what does this mean for global businesses in the ‘smart’ and ‘always on’ world that we live in?

Real-time connectivity

Once, the internet offered barely more than a quick, cheap and convenient way to send messages around the world. Now, it permeates nearly every aspect of our lives and reaches almost every corner of the globe.

And although the Internet of Things isn’t exactly a new concept (the term was first coined in 1999), the way it’s shaping international business is revolutionary.

Today, IoT devices can be found in some shape or form in almost every sector — from recruitment and finance to healthcare and manufacturing. Through their networks of connected devices, organisations can improve asset utilisation, productivity and reliability. The Internet of Things also provides businesses with the opportunity to gain valuable and immediate insights about their customers, products, services and even their employees all over the world.

This level of real-time connectivity helps to drive situational awareness and create a greater understanding of company operations and market trends — which, ultimately, will allow companies to reduce risk and make more informed and efficient decisions as they move through their global expansion journey and take on new territories.

A sea of data

Most businesses rely on hard data to drive decision-making. And behind the IoT’s network of connected devices is a vast ocean of data just waiting to be explored and utilised.

The IoT has changed the way international businesses collect, interpret and utilise data. This data can now be managed from anywhere in the world — allowing businesses to continue operations 24/7 regardless of location or time zone. For international companies that need to keep track of their workforce, sales and various markets, the concept of IoT helps them address all these issues remotely. And in an increasingly data-driven and competitive landscape, this has never been more important.

The past year, in particular, has proved how valuable remote connectivity is for globalisation. Physical borders may have been closed, but the internet has been open for business as usual. Without the IoT, many companies’ global expansion plans would’ve ground to a halt. But the IoT offers endless possibilities for businesses to grow internationally and even alter the very roots they grew on.

As the world makes its way tentatively out of lockdowns and business resumes, the IoT will be key for adaptability and scalability moving forward — allowing companies to continue operating globally no matter what external challenges are thrown at them.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your global expansion journey, a global PEO can smooth out the complexities associated with operating across multiple countries. Get in touch to find out how PEO Worldwide’s international employment services can support your business and propel you into extraordinary growth today.