The world of technology is changing at a faster rate than during any time in human history – and this has implications for businesses of every size.
Keeping up with developments in business tech can be daunting, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the key technology trends that could impact your small business in 2015.
The rise of Big Data
Big Data has been one of the big business stories of the last year. Every day, vast amounts of data are collected by businesses of every size, and this information can be used to build better customer experiences, more efficient supply chain management, and many other benefits. In the past, the tools to leverage Big Data were beyond the reach of most small businesses. In the coming months, though, those tools will become increasingly available to even the smallest firms. Look out for an article on big data for small businesses on Simply Business soon.
Brands will rule
In the past year, Uber and Airbnb have proven testament to the power of brands. These businesses have managed to disrupt the staid worlds of taxis and hotels not because their offering is radically different to anything that has come before, but because they have united a series of service providers under strong single brands. As the power of brands continues to grow, small businesses need to think carefully about their own brand identity. Read more about brand honesty, and about branding for freelancers.
New payment systems
The days of cash are numbered. New payment methods are entering the market seemingly weekly, and one of these may well revolutionise the way that we do business. Even now, though, contactless technology has already completely changed the payment landscape. Tens of millions of UK consumers are choosing to use contactless cards to pay for goods and services, and this number will only grow over the coming year. Read more about accepting contactless payment.
The rise of 3D printing means that manufacturers will be able to create prototypes and minimum viable products (MVPs) with far greater ease, and far more cheaply. What was, just a year ago, technology beyond the reach of small businesses is now affordable and practical even for individuals. Desktop 3D printers are now increasingly commonplace, and the coming 12 months will see 3D printing become ever more achievable for small businesses.
Finally, we can’t forget the so-called ‘internet of things’. This concept has been in development for decades, but has really begun to gain traction over the last couple of years. In this conception of the internet, every object on the planet could theoretically be connected. The growth of the internet of things can be seen in the increasing prevalence of things like ‘smart’ electricity meters, which transmit information to and from central servers. This enables consumers and businesses to more efficiently manage electricity use, saving money and ultimately reducing environmental impact. Today, though, the internet of things is going even further. In the coming months, machines will become ever more interconnected, giving rise to a situation in which the limitations of human time resource can be overcome, and machines will be able to communicate more efficiently without human input, leading to efficiency savings for businesses of all sizes.