Technology is advancing faster than we expected, and with so many changes occurring due to COVID-19, small businesses are investing in technology now more than ever. As business technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see developments 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. With that said, 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, both for routine upkeep and day-to-day communication with your team. Since there’s an overwhelming number of applications out there, 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. With the right kind of apps, your mobile phone or tablet can become a powerhouse of organization and efficiency. Our team of IT professionals decided to do some homework on figuring out what the five best applications 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, both for work and personal related 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, more products are developed to help 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, and not just with business technology. 5G is a shorthand for the fifth-generation mobile network and is up to 100 times faster than its predecessor, 4G. It reduces latency, which enables faster data sharing and eliminating 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 any 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 so 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 their operations. By allowing algorithms to identify patterns, analyze data, and make company decisions, you can automate your processes and focus on long-term strategies.
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, 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. This 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) has 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 a lot of potential for businesses that are looking to invest 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 the use of edge computing 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.