There’s no denying that technological change is all around us, and right now we find ourselves at the very forefront of advancements and innovation.
From distortions of real life through augmented and virtual reality technologies to machines communicating with each other through the Internet of Things, and cryptocurrencies managing money, each day welcomes a new development.
However, this means that the market is now even more unpredictable, especially for small business owners. It is now much harder to future-proof your brand, understand the new tech buzzwords and ensure you invest in the right technologies. Should you start investing in bitcoin? Would a certain software enhance your productivity?
In this article we’ll take a look at some of the biggest advancements in global technology and how they can be used to benefit small enterprises.
Companies are heavily reliant upon administrative processes to keep business running smoothly. From the management of payments, scheduling, meetings and events, social media and data input, these processes can take a long time to efficiently implement.
However, there is now specialised software that can help to alleviate these administration pressures and allow you to focus on the more business-centric aspects of your job. It is estimated that self-employed workers in the UK can waste up to 15 days each year adhering to monetary management processes.
That’s why investing in specialised software is a growing trend. By using bespoke tools, small businesses can edge ahead of your market competitors.
Cloud computing is probably one of the most popular new tech buzzwords. By implementing this technology, some businesses can, to a large extent, say goodbye to large upfront costs for hardware, cumbersome builds and on-site storage. The new cloud business models reduce upfront costs, offer scope for growth and improve customer experience.
One major perk of cloud computing is the ability to access files from anywhere, at any time, from any compatible device. Typical examples include Office 365, Gmail, Sharepoint and Dropbox. The market has levelled out, and now small enterprises can afford to use the same technology and storage platform as the industry leaders.
It is reported that more than three quarters of small businesses have cloud solutions in their business plans in a bid to increase efficiencies.
Internet of things
With the latest sensor technology, practically any machine can become “smart”. Smart fridges will let you know when you need milk and a smart home means you can switch off lights or put the heating on from anywhere. This new innovation can also mean massive savings for small enterprises. For example, they can help with monitoring stock levels, reduce energy usage and produce less waste via real-time data updates and automated responses.
Benefits of IoT can also be extended to the health and safety sector, and companies are developing solutions to monitor housing conditions for the elderly. By introducing sensors, it is now possible to monitor condensation levels and home warmth in the colder months. Using this data, they can improve the wellbeing of the residents.
One of the biggest need-to-know tech buzzwords in recent years is artificial intelligence. Computers can now operate intelligently without the need for human interaction or interference. Many companies and governments are already heavily investing in this technology to stay ahead of the competition.
Predictive learning can help us save money by buying smarter and establishing trends that may otherwise have been overlooked. For example, dynamic apps can help customers save money in their favourite supermarkets by learning what they like and offering coupons for reductions.
Virtual reality and augmented reality
Virtual and augmented reality technologies are altering how we perceive the world around us. No longer used solely in the gaming world, VR and AR has extended into practical uses that can benefit us all.
We can now take a virtual tour of a hospital before an appointment, transform educational content for students, or even visualise our next holiday destination. Marketing companies are searching for new ways to engage audiences using augmented reality, and it is predicted that AR sales will reach as much as $140bn by 2021.
Automation solutions are allowing companies to implement a digital workforce to tackle the objective, repetitive and data-led tasks, freeing up time for humans to focus on the more valuable aspects of their job.
Statistics show that professionals spend around half of their working time communicating via email regarding routine and transactional tasks. A lot of these conversations could be automated to relieve a huge operational burden. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) computers can extract valuable data from emails, process this and then send out a relevant response depending on the outcome.
Digital workers can also help with the simple tasks of data entry, removing the need for duplication of work when systems don’t communicate with each other. They can become a valued part of your team, removing the tasks that offer employees limited personal development.
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Crucially, small-business owners should ensure they have a technical infrastructure that will allow them to be flexible and adaptable where required. This will allow them to assess the market and decide which solutions can make their small enterprise more effective and overall, more successful.
If you’d like more information on what new technological advancements your business could benefit from or to learn more about these tech buzzwords, get in touch with our team today.