The changes in technology over the last 20 years have been astounding. We’ve made the leap from brick phones to smartphones, in-house servers to Cloud, remote control to voice control. The leaps have been astronomical if you haven’t already seen technology revolutionising your business you will. Small businesses, in particular, are slow to catch onto the new technological trends, but here are some things to look out for. If you embrace them early enough, you could be leading in your industry.
Here’s four ways technology could revolutionise your business:
Many thought the Cloud was a fad when it first emerged, but we can confirm it’s here to stay. It is the way forward for any businesses wishing to keep up with our fast-paced world. Almost 50% of businesses have made the leap to the Cloud but that number is much lower for small businesses. It’s time that small businesses experienced all the benefits of new technology that their larger counterparts get to enjoy.
Cloud technology can streamline your entire business process, whilst saving costs and increasing flexibility. The ability to store and access data securely over the Internet is a game changer. No longer do businesses need to rely on in-house servers to store their data. Employees are no longer tethered to their desks. And costs and security become far more predictable. The Cloud is a revolution for businesses it changes the way the entire organisation is run for the better.
Gone are the days when you have to say “I left that file on my computer, I’ll send it to you later”. With the Cloud, you can access documents anywhere, from any device so long as you have an Internet connection.
With Office365 and Azure, The Cloud is affordable for businesses of any size. Is it time you took the leap?
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI has been steadily growing for years and years. You could argue that Siri was the first time AI properly broke out in the public spotlight. But since Siri’s inception, the technology has advanced enormously. Whilst we still have our personal AI devices like Siri now including assistants such as Alexa, Cortana and Google assistant, they’re just the tip of the iceberg.
It may be fun and gimmicky to make your Alexa change the colour of your lights, play some music and ask one hundred questions but just consider for a minute the processing power it takes to perform all those tasks instantly. Elon Musk believes AI may well be the defining issue of the 21st Century and with its vast processing power and increasing knowledge that will surpass that of people you can see why. AI is already processing data that no human could handle and finding solutions to previously mysterious issues. AI could even become self-aware.
In terms of business impact, AI could influence so many areas of business. Yes, gimmicky tools such as Alexa and Google Assistant may make the office a bit more fun and run more smoothly. But the development of AI robotics and programmes is where the real revolution lies. With the advances in AI, we will soon see the deployment of robotic workers, we’ve already seen rudimentary versions in China and Japan. This has a lot of implications for the manufacturing industry in particular. And AI programmes that handle big data such as Deep Mind, which is based off the neural networks in a human brain, will change the way we process data and solve problems that humans simply cannot comprehend. Who knows exactly how that will affect business, but one thing is for sure is that it will.
4G has been around for a while so we were due an upgrade sometime soon and that’s exactly what 5G is going to be. But it will be an upgrade like we’ve never seen before. 5G has not rolled out yet but businesses and consumers are already crazy about it. EE is the furthest in the game of 5G and has been developing its network and capacity for 5G ever since the hype of 4G slid away.
5G or fifth generation mobile network is the network you connect to when you’re not on Wifi. It allows you to call, text and use the Internet. 5G is set to be a lot-lot faster than its predecessor 4G, some are even claiming 100 times faster. Just think about how fast 4G is now, then imagine it being 100 times faster that’s as fast as using good Wifi. You could stream full-length videos in seconds even when not connected to Wifi. That’s amazing to consider.
The development of 5G means a lot for business. You will be able to work on your phone easily from anywhere with 5G coverage as if you were sat in the office. If a colleague sends you a video you no longer have to wait to watch it. You can access your documents effortless when stood in the middle of a field. We’ll probably see an influx of applications using AI and virtual reality that could not realistically be supported across a 4G network. Driverless cars and smart devices will soar as their usability becomes no problem once you leave the safety of Wifi. 5G will revolutionise all the applications and devices we use. The boundary between home, work and outside will be seamless.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things is the growing collection of devices that are connected to the Internet. Including your traditional phone, laptop and tablet but encompassing so much more. Smart fridges, toasters, kettles, watches, you name it there’s probably a version of it that connects to the Internet in some way, shape or form. This network of devices is growing year on year. Soon we will be surrounded by devices that connect to the Internet.
You may be able to get your kettle to boil water from your smartphone or pay for some milk via your watch but we’re only touching the tip of the iceberg. Scientists are theorising about smart cities that constantly track and monitor data all across the Internet to make the city more efficient. It could change traffic lights to limit congestion or detect fires and call the fire department. The options are endless.
The IOT will make business 100% more efficient. Already we’re seeing tracking in lorries, tools and machines in manufacturing. Making monitoring safety easier. Because we can’t say how big the IOT will grow there’s no way of telling how it could revolutionise business.
It’s exciting to explore the technology that is to come. We look forward to seeing just how business transforms over the coming years. Soon we may not even need computer screens at all and we could be working on holographic projections. Who knows.