Technology has become an all-encompassing aspect of everyday life that a lot of businesses fail to function without it. This is why business owners must remain updated with tech trends to know what technology best augments their business.
Below are some of the top tech trends for businesses in 2018:
- Mobile device management
- Augmented reality
- 5G internet
- Customer scheduling
- Blockchain for businesses
Mobile device management
This year, small businesses will be able to have wider access to mobile device management (MDM) systems. While “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies have become increasingly popular at businesses and workplaces, this poses a potential security threat especially for companies which outsource or offshore some of their labour.
Until 2017, high-level MDM solutions were extremely expensive and required subscriptions which are deemed too expensive for small businesses.
But with the influx of major tech players making MDM functionalities affordable enough for all kinds of businesses, this means that businesses which rely on BYOD for their employees will be able to adapt mobile device management without having to put up with expensive subscription fees.
While augmented reality (AR) was previously only confined to the entertainment industry, it is projected that 2018 will see AR and virtual reality (VR) become useful for businesses as well.
An example of this is Amazon’s Alexa and other voice assistants. Amazon has announced that it will be rolling out a business-compatible version of Alexa, complete with business-friendly features.
Business owners will be able to integrate Alexa with their employees’ existing Prime and Alexa accounts and tech giants HP, Acer and Asus will be integrating Alexa voice controls into their laptops. Businesses will also benefit from security systems integrated with Alexa’s features, such as Canary’s security cameras.
Cellular connections have gone a long way ever since 1G cellular capability was released to the public in the 1980s. In 2018, 5G or fifth-generation capability will be released, with 5G being faster than 4G LTE and will lessen data latency as compared to 4G.
Tech company Huawei states that the advent of 5G will lessen latency to 1 millisecond from its previous score of 50 milliseconds.
If developed properly, 5G will be a major step towards the advancement of internet technology and could possibly aid businesses, particularly on communications. Telecom giants like Verizon and AT&T will start rolling out 5G technology in 2018 and business owners should expect to see more 5G-powered devices, from communication systems to vehicle assistants.
5G internet is also a great help for other facets of businesses, such as marketing.
Customer satisfaction should be at the forefront of every business—customer scheduling systems are expected to quickly become a trend among businesses in 2018. Customer scheduling systems allows customers to customise how they interact with businesses, from setting the time, date and even topics to be discussed.
Business owners must understand that their customers’ time is important—enabling customers to have total control of how they will be able to contact the business is essential if the business aims to remain running.
Additional customer service tools are expected to come through in 2018, with more and more businesses introducing flexibility to their customer services.
Blockchain for businesses
The number of blockchain-utilising businesses are expected to grow as cryptocurrencies move from simple bitcoin transactions to business applications. Blockchain technology makes matters easier for businesses by improving transparency and accountability for all kinds of transactions due to its ability to create a digital ledger that’s practically impossible to tamper with.
The future of blockchain looks bright, with the technology possibly being applied to industries such as healthcare, banking, shipping, manufacturing and even governments aside from businesses.
But gaining a proper understanding of how blockchain works might be too hard for the average Joe, which is why educational platforms such as Investopedia and Think Academy by IBM aim to make blockchain more accessible by providing comprehensive blockchain discussions which can be utilised by business owners who are interested in this technology.
Some current uses of blockchain for businesses include hyper and/or triple ledgers, smart contracts automation and handling of enterprise transactions. Historical transactions will be easily traced, living little need for audits and automated validations such as automatic billing and collection will be possible.