For the past 250 years, economic growth has been fundamentally driven by technological innovation. In this day and age, business success is directly linked to rapid technological change. There is no use in hiding from it. It’s important to know what’s coming around the corner and harness all you can from the emerging technologies available in order to propel your business further.
It’s never too early
An assumption commonly made is that traditional enterprise doesn’t take advantage of emerging tech trends, but this could not be further from the truth. Small businesses and savvy startups are reacting quickly in order to integrate novel technologies into their businesses. Companies that spot a technological trend may begin to experiment, think intuitively and take time to consider just how to incorporate technology into their business models. It’s never too early to see what other businesses are currently doing and how they’re leveraging technology to bring about competitive advantage. Take note of eight key trends that are currently emerging:
1. Artificial Intelligence
It’s a mystery as to why we’re able to do a lot of the things we can, even with something as simple as facial recognition. Machine learning is set to change everything, allowing machines to continuously improve themselves in task execution, without needing to explain how to accomplish these tasks. We can now build systems that learn and adapt to perform tasks on their own. This is set to raise the speed of business-related calculations. There’s nothing special about the salty porridge encased within a human skull – computers can accelerate numerous calculations much faster than their human counterpart.
The impact of digital learning will transform just about all industries in the coming decade, from retailing to health care, insurance to entertainment – all factions of business will be affected. Leaving aside the big giants (Facebook, Amazon, Google, Netflix etc.), one can see an increasing number of applications harnessed by small and mid-sized businesses. Just take a look at some of the popular applications of AI in startups today:
- Report generation
- Image processing
- Predictive tools
- Recommendation engines
2. Big Data
The use of big data has been critical to business success. Just look at the likes of Deliveroo and Uber whose use of data allowed them to make exponential gains. Big data that is gathered can support algorithmic decision making, feeding AI with what it needs to enhance its productivity. Co-workers can be monitored and tracked, with data gathered on them to understand the unpredictable nature of self-employed work. Deliveroo has been using a dispatch engine named ‘Frank’ for a number of years – this can only be fed with real-time big data on travel time, preparation time and historical data to determine the best ways to allocate riders to orders.
3. Wearable Technology
With Amazon set to release sunglasses powered by Alexa, to Levi’s smart jackets that can monitor your comforts throughout the day, wearable technology is no thing of the past. These developments are a trend due to an increase in consumer choices and demands. From seeing that you get enough sleep to help you make the most out of your morning jog, there’s wearable technology everywhere.
It’s forecast that by 2020 there will be approximately 6.1 billion smartphone users across the globe, with the global market set to break $80 billion the end of the year. Google Play and the Apple App store together have over four million different apps to choose. Nowadays it’s not only those in tech that have the power – ordinary consumers are using applications for businesses, learning, health and any aspect of their daily lives. Established organisations are looking for ways to add value and convenience to their customers by creating apps tailored to their businesses. For example, Safeco Insurance app allows you to take pictures and details there and then at the scene of an accident, allowing for a more timely claim application and car tow.
Robots are really the stuff of reality now. The emergence of robotic technology will see to a new wave of economic prosperity. Robots can do the job for you, yet demand no pay or time off in return, however, robots need not offer a dystopian worldview. Safety can be enhanced and efficiency can be increased. In logistics, repetitive, back-breaking manual labour can be more smartly deployed to robots, leaving employees more fit for work. Robots can serve as your business tool or your friendly companion. Honda have recently developed robots that can assist humans in menial housework, emulate soothing facial expressions and keep you company. They’ll even play you the fiddle while you drift off to sleep.
The multipurpose and highly resourceful nature of drones make them an innovation of the century for businesses worldwide. From filmmaking to farming, drones serve as a perfect tool for increasing accuracy, decreasing workloads and performing tasks in a timely and efficient manner. Aerial drones have been helping Japan grow rice for years, automating processes from real-time crop monitoring to planting. Commercial usage is growing, with increases in demands for a variety of different purposes, including vehicle repairs, site inspection, geographic mapping, weather reporting and even advertising.
Moore’s law is in effect and computational power is on the rise. This is likely to change the world. Multigigabit download speeds will offer businesses the possibility to undertake tasks at speeds like never before. 5G will be the technology giving the big push to autonomous driving and flying, as well as remote robotic surgery and supply chain management.
8. Virtual reality
Affordable and easy to use headsets have paved a path for the mainstream success of virtual reality in business. Processes that can be carried out in the physical world may be simulated to enhance customer services, training and production. Oculuses ‘Virtual Speech’ can be used to train an employee up to give public speeches in front of thousands of virtual human beings. Think of the costs if you were to use real humans! In design and manufacturing processes, VR allows the creative design, examination and testing of products in a safe and cost-effective environment. Thousands of prototypes can be easily created and tweaked at the touch of a button. Even architects have been using this technology to allow clients to explore designs of buildings before a single brick is to be laid. Showrooms may be a thing of the past – customers need not be lead to a physical showroom of a product when they can be at a showroom interacting with sales assistants just by donning a headset.
In many ways, technology is catching up with us and is set to replace the things we do. In this era of innovation, the digital world is the one that lays the foundations for corporate success. To increase competitive advantage, it’s only right that businesses jump aboard the technological bandwagon, evaluate the top trends and stay on top of their game.
Author Bio – “My name is Ellen Royce. I’ve developed a passion for technology and culture – how both of them develop and impact on each other. Being a web designer on this site, I’m trying myself as a blogger who is looking to sharing writing experience with the audience.”