Small Business Inspiration for 2017 National Technology Day


Since 2016, each year at this time in January, we note National Technology Day. But I must add that at the current rate of development, almost every day seems like a National Technology Day!

However, because things change so fast, it’s very easy to veer off the wise application of technology to our businesses in two different directions:

  • Some give up on staying current and continue to rely on old – and maybe “proven” ­ technology.
  • Others jump from new technology to newer technology as soon as they come along.

Each of these paths creates problems. If you fail to modernize, you eventually get to a place where you’re unable to leverage newer, practical, and cost-effective technologies. But if you chase every shiny new technology, it becomes costly and you may never fully realize the potential of any single tech development.

A middle path is preferred, but you also need to be technology literate. In honor of National Technology Day, I want to briefly discuss an area of the Internet of Things (IoT) that is beginning to mature and could be very useful to many small business owners: home automation.

Many of the major tech players – Apple, Google, and Amazon – are introducing hardware and software to automate various functions of our homes. Third-party manufacturers are creating devices that work with the systems these tech giants have introduced. I believe that savvy small business owners will find ways to use these in their businesses, making operations and management easier and less costly.

Lights, alarms, and locks

There are many Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled lighting systems, alarm systems, and door locks. Just a couple of years ago a friend of mine tried to install a simple Web-based video surveillance system at his vacation cabin. He never got it to work properly. Today, however, that are many user-friendly Wi-Fi video cameras that use the cloud so if you want to be able to check your small business facility when you’re away, it can be done easily and inexpensively.

You can also control lights and locks from a distance. For example, with the Schlage Sense system, a vacationing restaurant owner could set up a temporary entry code to let a plumber in during off hours using his or her smartphone. For lights, and anything electrical, there are outlet controllers that are inexpensive and easy to use.

If you want to minimize your small business utility bill, check out the various smart thermostats. Although they are marketed for home use, many small business owners will find them useful.

Ground control

You don’t have to worship the ground you walk on, but you can use technology to optimize it. How about trying one of the vacuum cleaner robots to keep your office floor always looking its best? This might save you some cleaning time and costs.

If you have outdoor landscaping at your small business, consider a smart sprinkler controller. Put one of those into service and you won’t be the person watering in the middle of a rain storm.


I know many small businesses, such as motels, that do their own laundry. There are several brands of washing machines and dryers that can be controlled via Wi-Fi. Further, there are IFTTT recipes that you might find handy. One, for example, would send you a text message when your wash cycle has 10 minutes left.

These are just a few ideas. This area of technology is expanding rapidly, so much more will be available tomorrow than is possible today. But what I really appreciate is that the IoT is making some previously expensive services almost free for small business owners.

Why not take a few minutes on this National Technology Day to find a way to bring at least one new technology into your business?