The growth of the Intenet of Things (IoT) over the last decade has paved the way for new innovations capable of capturing not only data on the way people interact, but also on where they are interacting. Used with artificial intelligence (AI), small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can leverage that location data to improve operations.

AI offers the potential of providing an accurate response to a specific behavior within a given timeframe. Take autonomous driving for instance -- AI should respond in real-time to gathered data to avoid hitting roadblocks.

In a brick-and-mortar setup, retailers can use AI and location intelligence (LI) to offer a promotional coupon to the device of a potential customer passing by a storefront. Couriers can collect packages from one location and deliver it to another in the most efficient way possible.

"As we see more trends towards online retailers and home delivery, this technology will be crucial," says Ted Way, senior program manager on Microsoft's Azure Machine Learning team. "Whether it's road conditions, optimal traffic routing, or even a delivered package-every one of these touchpoints could be analyzed and understood to better perform a service."

AI and LI combined can result in a better way of doing business and offers a cost-effective solution as well. If SMEs don't keep up, it's hard to imagine their businesses ever succeeding.

Consumers want excellent service by way of instant gratification. Luckily for us these days, we live in an age when e-commerce is thriving. Still, people will always visit brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, almost a quarter of one of the largest e-commerce retailer's revenue comes from customers who tried to buy a product in-store but found it out of stock.

This is where AI and LI can help. Retailers now have the power to prevent shoppers from leaving their stores without the product they want to buy. The technologies help retailers leverage customer browsing and purchasing habits to optimize store inventory and supply chain. Not only are customers ensured that products are always in stock, but they are also assured that such products are found in stores they frequent. In turn, it saves sellers a ton of money in missed sales.

AI and LI have benefits too many to discuss in one writeup, but a thing that's certain is that businesses can use these technologies for the betterment of operations.

Not all SMEs have utilized AI and LI yet, but know that this is where the future is headed and the way in which industries will operate in the future.