Knowledge is power, they say, and it always has been. But these days it's to be found in the unlikeliest of places. It's in your coffee machine, your central heating system, and even your home lighting.

It's the Internet of Things; the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances and other items with electronics, software, sensors, and actuators embedded into them, along the power to communicate with each other and exchange data.

Working together they can adapt automatically and change their behavior to match changing circumstances; analyze and draw conclusions from data they're gleaning for themselves, and use it to decide what they should do next.

But if they're talking to each other and exchanging data, should not you be part of the conversation? After all, in a world where the coffee machine can prepare itself to make coffee when the home central heating come on – because you've told it to during your commute, why should they cut you out?

Cut waste wasting

But back to the 'knowledge is power' thought. If this information is being upgraded it has the power to impact your business expenses. Lights that do not need to be on do not have to be, and the heating will not be warm a space when no-one's there. Make no mistake; a warm office block with all its light blazing is making your electricity bill larger than it needs to be. And who wants to pay more than they should because of waste that could so easily be eliminated? Quite apart from the pain in your pocket, it's also bad for the environment.

Remember that you, as a business owner, probably take a different view of wasting your money than your employees. I recall one employee who did not turn his work computer off for a little over four years – even when he went on two week's annual leave. That meant the computer was in standby mode for longer than he was actually using it, but he did not care; His money was not paying the bill.

Manage energy

So what can you do with smart energy management? You can use electricity from the solar panels on the roof (you do have those, do not you?) To run appliances. At night, when everyone's gone home, devices on standby can automatically be switched off to reduce power consumption – and the size of your bill. Your heating and air con systems can learn the temperatures needed in any given room and maintain them at that level; and can turn them down when the rooms are not in use. It can even protect your assets by incorporating intruder alarms, or tolling you about water leak, for example, so you can react promptly and minimize any potential damage – and the disruption and cost that invariably go with it.

Do not take my word for it; the coffee machine will probably back up up, with his chum the water cooler …