Technology moves and changes so rapidly, and it is important for small businesses to know what this means for them. Sometimes it can be better efficiency which can lead to more clients. Other times it means simplifying something like timekeeping or scheduling. Both are important to the success of businesses as they move through the growth cycle.
So let’s review the trends that will be popular in 2019.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence is already a big part of most Americans’ lives. We use navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze to navigate the roads. We have Echo Dots in our homes and take Uber to the airport or home after a night out. This year it is going to move into businesses in a more prevalent way. As technology changes there are companies using AI to automate machines, data analytics, and data mining. It can be used to simplify experiences for customers by improving web search results, real time ads, and pattern recognition to improve experiences.
It is also creating jobs. According to Simplilearn, in 2017 the average AI engineer was making $107,000/year as the field rapidly expands to include engineers, developers, researchers, and data scientists.
Virtual Reality (VR)
When people think of virtual reality they tend to think of the immersive games that are popular with teens. What they don’t think of is the growing importance of virtual reality for many different industries. VR can be used to train doctors, security professionals, show customers how products look in 3D, and help with post-injury rehab amongst many other things.
Small businesses are incorporating VR for a variety of reasons. Developers are using it to give potential home buyers a chance to explore a house before it is built. Chefs are using it to teach kitchen staff how to make certain dishes without wasting expensive food. Medical professionals are using it to train on new techniques or procedures. As the uses for VR continue to grow it is important for small businesses to keep an eye out for employees who have knowledge of programming and development as well as creative ideas for how to use it in their business model.
Internet of Things (IOT)
As more and more products are built with WiFi connectivity and Bluetooth capabilities businesses are integrating these items into their everyday work. It can be as simple as a doorbell with a camera but it goes beyond that. It can mean starting computers before getting to the office, monitoring overnight programming or work, increasing efficiency to get better business data, and more. Adding products to your business that take advantage of connectivity can make your workday more flexible and easy to manage while offsite.
Blockchain was originally created for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, but it has since become important to the internet at large. Blockgeeks explains blockchain like this “Picture a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then imagine that this network is designed to regularly update this spreadsheet and you have a basic understanding of the blockchain.”
Information on blockchain is a shared and continuously reconciled database. It isn’t saved on any one location but rather anyone can access it making it verifiable to anyone using it. It can’t be hacked as it is hosted on multiple computers. This technology is most applicable to financial firms who need to ensure that customers’ financial information is kept private. It also improves money transfer experiences and works with wallet apps to ensure credit card information is safe.
Technology is ever changing, and people are constantly looking for new ways to include it in their businesses to simplify the customer experience as well as improve employees’ work. 2019 is certainly going to be no different as people move to incorporate changes into their small business. Here’s to a new year with growing businesses and productive work!
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