The world is changing every day and technology is influencing the way we live and work. Whether it is the use of social media for communication or the manner in which we are getting an education, advancements in technology have gripped our imagination like never before. It is therefore intriguing to see how this rapid expansion of technology affects the business world.
As a small business owner, you must be aware of the latest technological trends that help you further grow your business. Let’s discuss top 10 technology trends that can positively impact small as well as large businesses.
1. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning
The rise of Artificial intelligence and Machine learning are one of the most significant trends that are going to marvel all of us in the coming time. AI is a rapidly growing technology and has become a universal part of our lives. Owing to this rapid growth in technology, a tremendous transformation can be seen taking place within businesses every day. While machines and systems become more capable of handling workload and managing processes, a greater amount of R&D in AI and its applications is now poised to revolutionize nearly every industry in the next decade. Salesforce CRM is an example of the integration of AI and if you talk about big companies like Microsoft, Oracle, Google, Apple, and Amazon, they are already using AI technology to boost customer experience.
2. Cloud computing
Cloud computing is an internet-based technology that allows users to access data, share computers, use cloud hosting to store data and resources from anywhere, anytime from any mobile devices or systems. Cloud computing can mean big changes for small businesses and is a great way that small business can save money, time, secure database and improve productivity and security. Since, a number of cloud services have opened a flexible and financially attractive door for businesses, in 2018 we are going to witness many organizations taking advantage of simplicity and high-performance of cloud computing. As a prediction, SaaS (Software as a Service) is going to keep lion’s share in terms of a highly deployed cloud service. Businesses that want to simplify operations and make it easier for their customers to access their services, will reap the benefits of cloud computing in 2018.
Cybersecurity attacks are on the rise and are becoming big issues for every online business, which are also a small business priority. If you talk about the personal identification data then Identity theft protection services are on demand to protect the personal information of users. The level of sophistication of cybercrimes is also getting more advanced and in order to protect company data, every business has to consider cybersecurity in terms of a war-footing. In 2018, smarter and more brute AI-powered attacks could be adopted by hackers by narrowing down probable passwords. This year will also see cryptographic attacks using advanced level pattern recognition capabilities.
4. Big data
According to industry experts, data is creating new opportunities for businesses’ growth. Every business uses its own data as per the requirement and Big Data helps in filtering, managing, analyzing hundreds of billions of rows of data. The use of big data is becoming common these days and as far as services or e-commerce companies are concerned, Big data tools like Hadoop, R-Programming, Cloudera, OpenRefine, Data Mining are proving to be of significant help. These tools are analyzing customer database to improve their business and to find new growth opportunities. If you want detailed information about them, you can also read about the best big data tools and how to use them.
5. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is a type of word-of-mouth marketing that focuses on utilizing the expertise of key leaders in various relevant industries. They help you deliver your brand message using content marketing strategies to reach your target audiences. Last year saw a significant rise in influencer marketing that helped many businesses in improving their marketing campaigns. The most common marketing prediction for 2018, however, is that your brand will need more relevant data and focus on influencer marketing campaigns to target right audiences.
6. Chatbot technology
Chatbots is a software or computer program that can be easily incorporated on any website, and people use them to communicate with the help of artificial intelligence. Chatbots are gaining instant popularity and being implemented by those companies that are providing 24/7 services. This technology is excellent for managing customer service and improving productivity. Customers can put across their queries directly to the customer service agents and get a response immediately. Here are live chat solutions for small businesses to integrate with third-party apps and customer management.
7. Blockchain technology
Blockchain is a new technological buzzword these days that has enormous potential for integrating future technologies. It is powerful, unhackable and secure transaction technology for digital assets that can help in improving payment system, identity verification, distributing digital information and transactions through various cryptocurrencies. The distributed ledger network of blockchain keeps verifiable records of each and every transaction ever made in the system.
Because of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, the transaction technology is getting so much buzz that the Linux Foundation has created tools for building out blockchain collaboration networks. Let see how business owners will apply this technology in their own their business operations.
8. Automation technology
Automation tools are seen to be the next key factors for the success of small businesses because they are extremely helpful in managing and improving work performance of employees and company growth. Automation technology can be helpful for business in terms of revving up marketing campaigns, monitoring and analyzing numbers and information from a variety of sources. In addition to that, automation tools improve communications, sales, and revenues; access data, create and manage invoicing; organize webinars, manage inventories; increase customer experience, payroll, HR, so on and so forth. There are many automation tools like Hootsuite and Infusionsoft by Keap that can dramatically increase efficiency and output of businesses.
9. Social payments
With the advent and popularity of social media, social shopping is clearly on the rise. The truth is nine out of 10 consumers are using social media to get help in their buying decisions. According to a Sprout Social study, 75 percent of people bought something after seeing on social media. Hence social payments should be made much easier. Apple Inc. has just announced the launch of Apple Pay cash—a payment system that works through its messaging app. Many popular companies are integrating these payment systems, for example, Google and Facebook also have their own. Thus, such a creative approach will transform e-commerce and other types of business transactions, which will make it easier to sell products and services online.
How many times do we have to talk about video? Small businesses need to catch up—video is where it’s at. You don’t even need any fancy equipment. Just use what’s in your pocket—your mobile phone! Look at all the food videos on Facebook. Any business can emulate that format to gain views and spread brand awareness. Apps like iMovie, Splice, and Quik let you edit on your device and they’re free.
Birbahadur Singh Kathayat is an entrepreneur, online marketer, and writer. With over 10 years of experience in online marketing and Content Marketing, he helps and guides budding business owners to manage, grow and scale their businesses. As an entrepreneur, he himself as director of LBSWebSoft, a leading digital media solution company.