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The Top 5 Technological Trends for Businesses in 2018

Posted September 19th, 2018 in new technology, For SMB

Technology is moving so fast and it’s hard enough to keep up to date for your personal life, but even more so for your business. The things we’ve seen in science-fiction years ago are now becoming a daily reality.

In more exciting news, these developments in technology are becoming more accessible to small and medium sized businesses.

To help you become up to date with the latest advances, we’ve put together a list of 5 technology trends in business that have been big this year. Plus, we’ll let you know how to apply them to your business.

If you aren’t already aware if these trends, we’re sure you’ll be hearing a lot more about them in the near future.

Tech_business_trends_2018
  1. Voice Recognition
Here are a few examples that you have probably heard of: Google Assist, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri. You’ve probably used one or all of these examples at some point. There are hundreds of millions of devices around the world that now feature voice-activated digital assistants.So, how can your business capitalize on this trend? There are two ways to do this.One way would be to think about how to make your company “voice search ready.” To get started with this option would be to think about how people are interacting with their digital assistants, and the types of questions they ask. For example, they might type “best restaurants near me”, but when asking their digital assistant, they might say “where should I go for dinner tonight?” You can build web content around these questions. Voice search looks for local results, and make sure that you list your phone number and location – and that they’re up to date.The second way would be to make life around the office easier. For example, Alexa for Business can manage schedules, keep track of to-do lists and set reminders for you. Digital assistants are great additions if you have trouble. Keeping organized.
  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI will continue to have a lasting effect on small to medium sized businesses and society in general.Larger companies are already capitalizing on AI and machine learning to boost their operations. Machine learning refers to a computer’s ability to perform tasks without being told to do so.While AI is still in the infancy stage, small to medium sized businesses can make use of it by looking for “off-the-shelf” AI products. Small businesses are unlikely to have staff solely responsible for data or AI, so using applications to enhance and automate business operations (ex, marketing, financial reporting) is an awesome way to adopt this trend.Consider Mailchimp. Many businesses – maybe even yours – use the application to send out automated emails to customers. But, the service also lets you do things such as adding AI-powered product recommendations to simple receipts.Also, you can step up your digital marketing efforts using Facebook and Google. This means your company can benefit from AI, because they use algorithms to target specific users.
  1. More Responsible with Data
It’s not a surprise that organizations collect huge amounts of data on customers over the years. It’s what makes using technology such as AI possible.But, with collecting this information, there is greater responsibility. For example, remember the WannaCry ransomware attack last year? Nobody was safe from the data breach in 2017. Companies around the globe were hit by the attack such as Uber, FedEx, and Honda. Many of the companies affected suffered data leaks. Companies – including SMBs need to face cyber security challenges head on in the years ahead.What does this mean for businesses like yours? It means getting up to speed on rules and guidelines for companies in Canada. Feel free to read the National Cyber Security Strategy in Canada. Also, it means that you’ll have to change your marketing to make customers want to engage with it.Create high-quality content that offers value to your customers which they’ll be happy to give their information (email address, for example) for. 
  1. Extending Reality Through VR and AR
Both of these technologies are expected to continue to grow over the next few years.Although using these technologies effectively might be a long way away for small to medium sized businesses, the possibilities they present are endless.  AR is very interesting because instead of just presenting users with new realities (VR), it shows us an extension or transformation of our own reality.For example, the Wayfair app is an awesome use of AR. Customers can see how products will look in their own home. Users are able to go through the catalogue on their smartphone and check out how different items will look in their rooms. So, if you sell furniture online, this could be an interesting route to take in the future.Even tradespeople could use AR in some way. If you have a design in place for a landscape gardening project, you could use this technology in your phone or tablet to walk around your client’s garden and show them how it can be transformed. AR can also extend to the construction industry.Who knows what other industries can benefit from AR and VR in the next few years.
  1. The Cloud Continues to Enhance Productivity

The cloud refers to applications and software that is offered over the internet. This includes Google Drive and Dropbox. Also, accounting programs such as QuickBooks also use the cloud.As cloud services continue to increase their storage capacity over the years, it’s a trend to watch. It’s likely that many applications will move to the cloud in the future.A study done in 2017 from Scalar Decisions Inc., one of Canada’s leading IT solutions provider, says that 73% of Canadian organizations have moved to the cloud. So, if you aren’t using cloud-based services yet, maybe it’s time to look at whether your company could streamline your operations.One benefit of using the cloud is that responsibility for updating the software doesn’t fall on you – you’ll always be using the most current version. A lot of the time, cloud software allows you to integrate files into one place. Everything from financial records to presentations to images can be stored. Also, you can access the files from anywhere.

Hopefully, you found this post to be useful and have thought of the possibility of integrating some of these trends into your business in the future. Have you seen any other technological trend that you think are useful? Or do you have any questions or comments? Feel free to respond below.

 

References:

Bromley, S. (2018). 5 top technological trends for businesses in 2018. Retrieved from https://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/articles/2018/05/top-technological-trends-in-business/