Technology is advancing faster than expected, and with so many changes occurring due to COVID-19, small businesses are investing in technology more than ever. As business technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see technology trends that move society towards automation, working remotely, and increased cybersecurity.
Business Technology Trends in 2021
Just because something is trending doesn’t always mean it’s here to stay for good. Staying ahead of technology trends can help you optimize business operations and impress your clients.
On top of that, as a small business owner, there’s a heavy reliance on mobile devices for routine upkeep and day-to-day communication with your team. Since there’s an overwhelming number of applications, it can be challenging to determine which ones are worth your while. You must take time to invest in applications, though, considering they significantly aid in overall productivity. Your mobile phone or tablet can become a powerhouse of organization and efficiency with the right apps. Our team of IT professionals decided to do some homework on figuring out what the top five best applications to improve productivity are for small businesses. It’s important to note that not all of these picks might be compatible with your preferred mobile device.
Expansion of Videoconferencing and Remote Work
While remote work was still considered an option before the pandemic, it exploded when companies were forced to close their offices and implement remote work policies. Zoom became a popular solution for online meetings for work and personal matters. Just months after the pandemic began in the United States, Twitter announced that their current and future employees could work from home “forever.” And not to anyone’s surprise, many other organizations followed in their footsteps.
As companies increasingly support virtual collaboration, product development helps workers virtually track projects, share files, and conduct team-building activities. These solutions help to create a virtual office where colleagues can easily collaborate.
Increased Development of 5G Infrastructure, New Applications, and Utilities
5G could potentially revolutionize our lives, not just business technology. 5G is a shorthand for the fifth-generation mobile network and is 100 times faster than its predecessor, 4G. It reduces latency, which enables more immediate data sharing and eliminates processing delays. Implementing 5G redefines the global wireless standard and drives the shift toward the industrial Internet of Things.
The reliability of 5G connectivity ensures that essential business technology operates without disruption. We can expect to see 5G used in retail, grid control, and factories, where even the slightest delays will impact thousands of people.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a buzzword in the business technology world for quite some time. But the application of AI in business matters and at home is still in the early stages. While we’ve seen AI dramatically improve smartphone personal assistants, image and speech recognition, and navigation apps, the technology still has much more potential.
Experts predict that the AI market will grow drastically over the next few years. We can expect to see an influx of AI in major industries like healthcare and retail. Machine learning is a subset of AI, focusing on how algorithms improve user experience and data. It’ll continue to grow as more industries recognize the potential to streamline operations. You can automate your processes and focus on long-term strategies by allowing algorithms to identify patterns, analyze data, and make company decisions.
We can expect greater demand for industrial automation as supply chains and manufacturing companies continue to recover from COVID-19 delays. Along with the growing presence of the Internet of Things, industrial automation can help further optimize manufacturing operations. Industrial automation can also address understaffing, considering most retailers worldwide prefer to overschedule than pose the risk of being understaffed. Moreover, automation results in high labor costs and decreased profitability. Technology can help businesses analyze customer shopping trends, store traffic data, and ultimately help to make more efficient staffing decisions.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in Commerce
Even though virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have been around for quite some time, we can expect to see them become more integrated into how we shop. While AR does enhance a user’s environment, VR can immerse them in a constructed environment. Both technologies offer great potential for businesses investing in enhanced consumer experiences.
AR allows customers to see what products will look like in their home, from kitchen appliances to furniture pieces. Beauty retailers have invested in AR-powered product testing, allowing their shoppers to evaluate products using their smartphones.
Although cloud computing has been the data storage go-to for the last few years, it’s no longer the greatest in information technology. Think of edge computing as a happy medium between cloud and on-premises storage. With edge computing, data can be stored “on the edge,” closer to your company’s location, improving response times and increasing bandwidth.
As the Internet of Things (IoT) devices grow in popularity, so will edge computing use in business technology. IoT devices act like mini data centers to facilitate edge computing, an ideal solution for businesses in remote locations with limited connectivity to a centralized data center.
Future-Proof Your Small Business
At Parried, we understand that while IT is undoubtedly an integral part of your business, maintaining its integrity should be in the background, prioritizing your company’s needs. Finding an outsourced IT provider with the perfect blend of certifications, skills, availability, and integrity can be challenging. Our team here has an unwavering passion for technology that helps us deploy strategies that support your growth in efficient and economical ways. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can better optimize your business operations, our team is happy to offer insight and guidance into your technology. We design our services to scale your business as it grows. We act as an extension of your business as your complete IT partner, providing our services with your best interests in mind. Learn more about how we can help you today by seeing if you qualify for a free, no-risk IT consultation.