The Month of May brings national Tech week. A celebration of all things tech and the innovations that are coming! There are a number of events and opportunities to see developers, producers and suppliers of the latest in innovation in the tech world.
Previous innovations in technology are becoming mainstream, tech week may showcase the next development for businesses. Here are some trends that as business owners/ operators and human beings, we may need to identify how these will affect our lives:
The Way We interact With Devices Is Changing.
There is a continuous shift from desktop to mobile. Meaning all businesses must deliver a good mobile experience, from employees and servicing/ attracting clients with a website/apps that work seamlessly on phones and tablets.
There is a rise of voice searches and voice commands (‘Hi Alexa!, ‘ok google’), and the advent of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) means technology interfaces will become more and more immersive. Companies who start to develop VR and AR experiences are very likely to reap the rewards in the longer term.
As any business consultant will tell you, anything that can be streamlined or automated, should be. If a robot or machine can do a task quicker, cheaper, easier and more accurately than a human, why shouldn’t it? That logic applies to businesses big and small. That may mean automating processes that are best suited to machines, and harnessing human brain power for the quirkier problems and more creative aspects of business.
The Rise of AI
AI technology may seem beyond the reach of the average business, but platforms like IBM’s Watson are opening up AI and machine learning to a much wider audience. In fact, there are many start-ups who are applying AI technology to a wide range of industries and applications, from marketing to healthcare. So if you have decisions, processes or systems that could be automated, it’s well worth considering whether intelligent machines could help.
Big Data Trending
The amount of data available to us is only going to increase, and businesses that don’t take advantage of Big Data will be left behind.
One significant Big Data trend has been the move towards the delivery of tools and technology through ‘software-as-a-service’ platforms.
By tapping into data from these big platforms, and partnering with a smaller software-as-a-service provider, any organisation can leverage the explosion in data to build a smarter, more successful business.
As we know, when it comes to the data itself, the big tech companies like Google and Facebook offer a wealth of data on potential customers, and useful tools for interrogating that data. Privacy and security is another topic for another day!
Business Adoption Of IoT (The Internet of Things)
IoT technology gives companies incredible opportunities for new products and services, or ways to optimise decisions and operations.
How can you best use IoT technology in your organisation? With seemingly endless opportunities, many companies don’t know where to begin. The most important thing is to consider how the IoT can be linked to your business strategy, how it can help your business achieve its strategic goals, and where it might deliver the biggest business value. Leveraged in a strategic way, the IoT can help propel your business towards achieving its goals.
Massive tech advances due to the exponential growth in computing power
Chances are your business is already using cloud storage, but is it time you start thinking about fog computing – where more data is stored and processed by devices themselves, rather than in the cloud? If your business relies on storing its data in someone else’s cloud-based system, it would certainly be worth considering how the limits to Internet bandwidth and the exponential growth in data might affect your ability to upload and receive cloud-stored data in the future.
Quantum computing is the next big thing in computing power, and it’s too early to say how the average business would make use of these exponentially more powerful computers. But it’s certainly a trend worth keeping an eye on, particularly if you’re making use of AI-enabled analytics to solve complex problems.
3D Printing continues to innovate.
If your business involves manufacturing products or components of any kind, you should definitely consider whether 3D printing could enhance your operations. While it’s fair to say that 3D printing is a long way from being ubiquitous, the technology is advancing to a point where it can challenge traditional methods of mass production.
For me, what’s particularly exciting about 3D printing is the opportunities it offers for customising products and designs to suit one-off requests. In this age of online platforms anticipating our every wish, and giving us personalised recommendations on what we might like to buy, watch, read or listen to next, consumers are getting very used to highly personalised services. 3D printing provides yet more scope for personalisation and customisation, and I think that might be the key to its success.
Blockchains: will they change our world?
There’s no doubt that the blockchain revolution is underway, and most industry experts agree that it’s where we’re headed.
Full integration is likely to take years, if not decades, so it may seem like it’s not worth considering the practical implications for your business. I think that would be a mistake. Look at how quickly the Internet took off and how dramatically it has changed almost every facet of our everyday lives. Blockchains may be just as huge. Therefore, it pays to keep an eye on this developing trend.