Research and reports
Technology in business moves so fast it can be difficult to keep up, with things only seen in science fiction 20 years ago now becoming reality.
What’s more, these exciting developments in tech are becoming increasingly accessible to small businesses and the self-employed.
To help you get to grips with all the latest advances, we’ve put together a list of the top technology trends in business for the year ahead and how you can apply them to your business.
You can be sure that if you aren’t aware of these new business technology trends now, you’ll be hearing a lot more about them in the coming months.
The fifth generation of mobile connectivity has already been launched in the UK by all four major mobile phone networks – however, quality of service differs depending where you are in the country.
The new 5G network offers increased speed, giving way to high quality video streaming.
For businesses, this could mean the remote working trend will continue, with significant improvements to the quality of video conferencing and remote access software making communication more seamless than ever before.
It also has the potential to reduce overhead costs for businesses, with many office employees no longer needing to physically be present in the workplace.
We heard a lot of AI in 2019, with many of us unsure if it was just a passing fad.
But digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are already transforming the ways in which we interact with technology at work. Companies are now exploring how they can use AI to benefit customer experience and streamline business operations.
It’s thought that we’ll become increasingly used to working alongside AI, with a growing pool of providers offering tailored services for specific tasks, at increasingly accessible prices.
Machine learning can be used to anticipate the needs of customers, based on the information you have about them. For example, a garage could send out automated reminders to their customers to remind them that their MOT is due.
In 2019, one hack took place in the world every 39 seconds – and almost two thirds of British companies reported a cybersecurity-related incident in 2019.
There’s a common misconception that big companies are the main ones at risk – when in reality, 43 per cent of cyber attacks happen to small businesses.
This is often because small businesses are less likely to have the budget to protect themselves adequately, and are more likely to outsource their cybersecurity needs, which can lead to vulnerabilities.
With an ever-changing information security landscape, small businesses will need to remain vigilant, ensuring that staff are aware of the latest security updates. Make sure your Wi-FI networks are being closely monitored, and that all staff members are trained regularly on the basics around strong passwords and phishing scams.
In 2015, The Guardian predicted that we’d all be ‘permanent backseat drivers’ by 2020.
Although it seems we’re still a way off, Tesla chief Elon Musk has stepped up his commitment to creating a self-driven vehicle. In 2019, he said “From our standpoint, if you fast forward a year, maybe a year and three months, but next year for sure, we’ll have over a million Robo-taxis on the road.”
The benefits of driverless vehicles are clear. Not only are Tesla and Ford developing their self-driven vehicles to be more cautious, but they’ll also save time. The average person in the UK drives for 10 hours a week, with business drivers pushing that number up even further. Using a driverless vehicle could give small business owners that extra bit of time to catch up on calls and paperwork.
Blockchain is essentially a growing list of interlinked records that allows data to be stored globally across thousands of servers.
In recent years, blockchain has exploded with the emergence of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. Once the domain of hackers, cryptocurrencies are now becoming popular with the average consumer. Not only is payment quick and easy, it’s also secure - blockchain data is notoriously difficult to tamper with.
From a small business perspective, using cryptocurrency means less time for payment processing. There’s no complication of currency conversion fees and unfavourable rates.
But blockchain technology could also lead to improved security for small businesses. Currently, companies often store their data in cloud servers, which are vulnerable to attacks and leaks. With blockchain, users can store encrypted data across multiple locations, making it much harder to penetrate.
Did we miss any top technology for business trends? Let us know your tech predictions in the comments section.
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Lucy McNeill is a Senior Copy and Content Manager at Simply Business. She’s worked in content for 16 years, primarily within the financial services and travel sectors. Lucy’s passionate about supporting women in small business, having led Simply Business’s Empowering Women in Business initiative for two years running. Lucy also specialises in webinars and virtual events.
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