Technology has completely changed the way we do business. Even 50 years ago, the landscape of business was completely different than it is today. Video streaming and mobile technology impact day-to-day operations and makes everything run at the speed of light. There are both advantages and disadvantages to emerging technologies. Love them or hate them, they are here to stay with new advances appearing nearly every month.
In a Pew Research Center Poll about technology, around 42% of Americans say technology has done the most to improve life over the last five decades. The massive changes brought about in the last 50 years are staggering when looked at from today’s perspective. Yet, advances seem to almost be increasing in speed. Unless you want to be left behind the rest of the IT industry, here are nine technology advancements you should pay attention to.
1. 5G Mobile Speeds
5G is already available in some areas, and it promises lower latency and faster connection speeds. Even though the service isn’t perfected yet, expect it to get faster and faster and expand into new areas. This means more and more people will access your services via their mobile devices. Potentially, desktop usage may drop off even more. Take this into account when designing new products for your customers. Faster speeds also mean you can add more features to your website, and users won’t get bogged down in heavy scripts.
2. Power Electronics Efficiency
Today’s power electronics are hitting 95% efficiency rates. Experts equate this to your car and state that if your vehicle’s engine ran at 95% capacity, then you could drive across the United States on a single tank of gas. Better efficiency is coming for all types of products. Look at the latest innovations and see how they might be applied to your products to make them run on less energy, last longer or operate faster.
3. Automated Systems
There is no arguing that artificial intelligence (AI) and its capability is growing exponentially year after year. Machines are learning to think autonomously. Already, we’re seeing self-driving cars and bots that do the work humans used to do. For your part, start looking at which processes within your company could be easily automated, such as customer data management.
4. Data Awareness
Over the last few years, some huge data breaches have made people sit up and pay closer attention to security. As an IT company, much of your information is held digitally. You’re on the cutting edge of your client’s security needs. Some of the technological advances that are helping boost cybersecurity include blockchain for authentication, better cloud technology and AI and machine learning.
5. Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality has grown in popularity in recent years. Games such as Pokemon Go are a prime example of how people interact more closely with the world around them. You can use AR to draw users into the services you offer via an app. You could also utilize it to walk them through their own information systems. Another idea is using AR in your marketing efforts to engage potential leads and show clearly how your company can help theirs.
6. Wearable Tech
In the last 10 years, we’ve seen watches that work like miniature smartphones and smart eyeglasses that turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Wearable tech seems to be trending toward smaller, more powerful devices each year. You can determine how this will impact your business by observing how people interact with their tech while on the run. Sit on any subway, and you’ll see people checking email, responding to messages and doing business at all times of the day. Look for ways to integrate your business with trending gadgets.
7. Smart Speakers
Around 66.4 million U.S. households now own a smart speaker, which means your website should be voice search enabled. Also, remember that some people use their smartphones for internet searches via Siri or Cortana as well. Smart speakers can answer questions currently, but how long is it until they expand and complete tasks for the person? Already, you can tell your smart speaker to order a pizza and it will interact with companies such as Domino’s to order your favorite meal.
8. Hybrid Cloud
When cloud computing first entered the scene, it was difficult for IT companies to see the advantages and disadvantages, from limitations to security to costs. However, companies have been in the cloud for some time now and are getting quite comfortable with its abilities and limitations. Many IT companies are finding that a hybrid cloud model works best for most clients, where some information is in the public sector, some is private and some is on private servers.
9. Robots and Automation
Probably one of the most significant changes for all businesses is the use of bots to handle basic tasks and automation of processes. This has freed up executives to focus on the more creative aspects of a business. For your brand, you might use a bot to answer simple questions on your website or to automatically notify customers of an outage and give an estimate of when things will come back online. Look for ways to automate your business so your workers’ time is freed up for more important pursuits.
There is one thing you can count on — technology will march on, changing year after year and impacting every type of business. As a technology company, it’s vital that you stay on top of changes and look forward to how they might impact your work and your customers. With a little foresight, you’ll outpace your competitors, allowing you to keep your current clients while attracting new ones.