Technology is rapidly changing around us today. Small businesses aren’t immune. In fact, there are several emerging technologies they’ll need in 2019.
Technology is rapidly changing around us today. This started with the birth of the internet in the late 80’s and from this new frontier innovation like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and cloud computing have become possible. We also have machines from around the world talking to one another through the Internet of Things (IoT). We’ve also witnessed cryptocurrencies become well-established forms of payment as the web economy took root. Even reality as we know it has been given a digital makeover thanks to both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies.
Small businesses aren’t immune to these changes. Not only have they managed to benefit from them, but so have their employees. Now it’s easier to strike a better work-life balance. Nevertheless, many people still believe that we haven’t yet seen the end of these new innovations. Unfortunately, this will present a challenge to small business owners who are striving to keep up with this technology and determine what they’ll invest in. Undoubtedly, there will be several emerging technologies these businesses will need in 2019- things like bitcoin, automation, and various types of specialized software. As such, it’s important to spend some time looking at each of them.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Virtual reality headsets and augmented reality applications can be used for communication, digital meetings, and retail applications. For instance, you can spin your virtual product 360-degrees to see if you like it from all angles, visualize how new products will look in their environment, and access unique content based on your location or preferences (a.k.a. geo-location content).
Humans are free to do more high-value, creative work when they use machines and computers for mundane, repetitive, and data-led tasks. To figure out which of these technologies your small business should be using you must first understand how things are changing and what’s not working for you. From there you can find the tech infrastructure that lets you flex and adapt. Regardless of what you need help with, you’ll find that there are many options available, even though you’re not operating with the same budget as a large organization.
Internet of Things
Upgrade says the Internet of Things (IoT) will comprise 30 billion devices by 2020. Many believe this will provide consumers with a luxurious and effective lifestyle. It’ll also offer valuable customer interactions and exceptional experiences. This is why it’s one of the most exciting areas of focus today.
This works thanks to the nano-sensors in our body and in specific objects. Once these are connected with technology, sectors like medicine, agriculture, and architecture will be greatly changed by this interconnecting technology.
Telegraph says now that expensive IT server, on-site software, and bulky hardware is a thing of the past we can save money when we start a new business. This is because cloud computing lets us start small, then gives us the flexibility to grow.
Some great examples of this include Gmail, Dropbox, and the cloud-based business phone system. You can access these from anywhere, at any time, and from almost any device. This helps level the playing field because now a small startup that uses the cloud can access the same technology as an industry leader.
Chatbots, AI, and Machine Learning
Startus Magazine says marketing is about to grow smarter thanks to AI and machine learning. In fact, according to one Salesforce study that was conducted in April 2017, many people believe they’ll see great improvements in efficiency and advancements in personalization by 2022. Over 60% of marketers polled said they envision leveraging AI to create dynamic landing pages, websites, programmatic advertising, and media buying. However, what people were most excited about is AI’s potential impact on social media listening and lead nurturing. This is because it’s believed that soon we’ll see AI grow increasingly sophisticated, making it a powerful tool for social media marketing.
The main way AI will affect marketing is by nurturing social media leads. We will witness personalized, real-time content targeting that results in 20% more sales opportunities thanks to behavioral targeting methods. In other words, AI can locate and start the nurturing process for us. This is because AI will form algorithms that learn about people and what they do throughout their work week. Armed with this knowledge, the software can then suggest or create targeted posts that are published on certain days and at specific times when your customers are most likely to see them.
Marketers who are already using social listening to nurture leads will appreciate AI enhancements that will save them time and work. They’ll no longer need to go through all the customer details in their CRM themselves. However, before this can work it’s important to start running analysis and developing strong personas – something that machine learning can help you accomplish.
Machine learning is defined as a technical process filled with computer algorithms that help you understand data and statistics (e.g. when your email determines whether a particular message is a spam based on the words used in the subject line, links included in the message, or patterns identified in a list of recipients). This is something your business can use to up-sell the right products, to the right customers, at the right time.
Today we rely on machine learning to help us understand email’s open rates so we know when to send our next campaign to increase click-through rates and ROI. However, in the future ticket tagging and re-routing will also be done via machine learning. This will save your business a lot of time and money.
While all these things are great, it’s only the beginning because many experts believe that we’ll also witness e-commerce reach new heights. This will happen as we begin to integrate a growing number of chatbots into our business.
In the past, people thought of chatbots as manmade online pests. However, thanks to machine learning, chatbots are growing smarter, which is why businesses are embracing them en mass today.
Many people believe that we are going to see the role of chatbots play a key role in the future of customer service. This is because they’re able to help us achieve a faster customer service resolution, provide quick histories about each of our customers, and thus enable us to provide impeccable customer service. Some of the key benefits that chatbots will have over solely human interactions include:
- Chatbots can provide 24/7 customer service because they don’t sleep. When you couple this with the fact that chatbots are growing increasingly more sophisticated (they can now recognize human emotions like anger, confusion, fear, and joy) you can see why people are able to embrace them more readily today.
- Customers expect to no longer find themselves being placed ‘on hold’ for inordinate amounts of time. This was a huge barrier to providing great customer service. It also led to huge frustration on behalf of your customers. These are all things that can be eliminated thanks to chatbots.
- With chatbots, you’ll have quick access to customer data, which in turn makes service more personal. Couple this with the fact that humans will never be better at quickly digesting customer data and history to provide context to customer questions than chatbots are. This demonstrates why chatbots make great virtual assistants – something that every business needs more of.
As chatbots continue to grow and emerge many industry leaders throughout the world are beginning to support them. There are even some leaders who have gone so far as to start new businesses based on these chatbots. Undoubtedly, this industry will continue to grow. As it does so, it’ll be interesting to see how businesses will leverage them throughout other aspects of their business. This is something you’ll definitely want to get in on the ground floor with.
Blockchain, Bitcoin, and More Cryptocurrencies
The Next Scoop says using machines and computers for mundane, repetitive, and data-led tasks will free people up so they can do more high-value and creative work. As a small business owner, you must make sure you have the tech infrastructure that will let you flex and adapt. Doing so will save you about half of your day that you would otherwise spend conducting routine, transactional communication via email and chat applications. Supporting this large volume of communication has become a huge operational burden. With machines and computers, you can now extract value from useful conversations and automate the routine and transactional processes.
Regardless of which of the many technologies you choose to employ, it’s still important to make sure you’re able to continually flex and adapt. You don’t want to get caught up in the hype. Instead, look at how each of these technologies can improve you and makes your business more smarter. Finding trends that you can easily apply and implement correctly will transform and streamline your small business.
BYOD and MDM
While having a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policy is great, Mirador says there are several reasons why you’ll want to have a mobile device management (MDM) policy in place, including:
- It’s free, which sets it apart from other business software. This isn’t for a set time or number of devices either.
- Your mobile phone is easy to use. There is also a myriad of apps and tools that make it just as good to use as any other laptop or computer, but now you have the added benefit of doing so while you’re on the go. This does away with the new for an IT tech because people feel right at home.
- Mobile devices are now a known entity regardless of whether you’re using an Android or devoted to your iPhone. This is great because it means you’ll always have very thorough and automatically updated information in an easy-to-understand form even when your business grows and the number of devices skyrockets.
- It makes your devices more secure. This device management is something you can conduct both quickly and remotely. Not only can you see what’s going on in your business and access reports, but you can also lock or wipe lost or stolen devices, enable device encryption, enforce the use of a lock screen passcode, and deploy email and WiFi settings remotely.
G-suite CRM Software has helped take digitization to the next level. Together with Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Bitcoin we now have many interesting potential avenues and exciting business applications available to us. These make it easier for our customers to interact with our businesses.
Pausing for a moment to think of VR alone you’ll see that it’s now an amazing tool that has a very user-friendly interface. This makes it easy to provide customers with experiences they’ve never had before. This is also true with Augmented reality thanks to its similar scope and flexibility.
Clearly, as we’ve taken the time to look at and consider these various technologies that are now surrounding us and the ones we’re bound to be surrounded by in the very near future, you can see that technology is rapidly changing our world and the way we conduct business today. As a small business, it’s important to realize the benefits these technologies will bring with them – enabling you and your employees to have a better work-life balance and for your business to rule the market.
This is the year in which you should start looking forward and considering how to best employ these various trends in your business. Eventually, there will come a point when you can no longer avoid them. Instead of waiting for that time to arrive you should start investing your money in these technologies today. Doing so will let you decide for yourself where your efforts are best placed and prepare you to learn and appreciate from any future disruptions that these technologies will bring with them.
Ultimately, the sky really is the limit here in terms of human creativity. These emerging and influential technologies are just the tip of the iceberg. They’ll shake up the world as we know it.