Can society keep pace with technology? New advances in ‘smart tech’ are radically changing the relationship between customer and business. Here are some important trends to keep an eye on…
A SMARTER WATCH? (Image Source: WikiCommons)
21st Century Wire
You can get all your work done before you step into the office. Or perhaps accurately predict customer preferences and wants. Someday it will be possible to stay ahead of the competition without actually doing anything. How? Smart Technology.
2017 is going to be another year of breakthrough technology that will introduce new dimensions of efficiency, customer satisfaction and enhanced global presence, even for small firms. The impact of technology on business has been larger than anyone would’ve expected. And those who didn’t see it coming are now out of business. Who would’ve thought companies like Kodak and Blockbuster would be out of business, or Nokia phones will no longer dominate the market.
That’s what happens when change comes.
These are five major areas of IT developments we believe will change the face of big and small business next year…
1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Over the next 365 days, businesses are expected to spend $3.5 trillion on IT services globally, according to research firm Gartner. A good chunk of that will be going towards AI and ML.
A popular theme of futuristic Sci-fi movies has become reality. 2016 saw increased adoption and investments into AI by the world’s leading technology companies. Google and Microsoft applied it to cloud computing, but 2017 will see increased applications in fields such as travel, medicine, banking and HR.
AI’s advantage over current systems is that it learns on the go. No more standardised responses or solutions. Everything can now be customised to suit your experience. Similar to predictive typing, but on a larger, more formidable scale. What this means for your business is that you will not only have access to more actionable intelligence, but in some cases you won’t even need to lift a finger to resolve it.
No more cookie-cutter responses to customer service questions. AI software can interpret a customer’s needs based on previous interactions with the company and other activity online. Skype can now translate in real-time 6 languages, with more expected next year. Businesses with diverse clients will be able to communicate fluently without an interpreter.
Intelligent apps will also begin to play a bigger role in more organisations. Expect to see their applications in analytics, digital assistants and autonomous business processes.
This is one area that has received a lot of attention from the financial industry recently. Large firms are continuing their acquisition of blockchain start-ups, as financial technology (fintech) continues its ascension.
Blockchain brought us Bitcoin, which still is a major area of interest, but the foundation is way more valuable.
Blockchain is an efficient way of transferring information (databases) globally, quicker than anything else out there. This has enabled bitcoin dealers to move their chips more rapidly than physical cash, hence making it more valuable. The implication for business is that more transactions can be done quicker and cheaper, so expect forex in particular to key into this. Blockchain apps for the financial and health-care industries are already being tested, with positive results.
The chief benefit of Blockchain is the security. Your databases will be safer and easier to convey with the platform.
3. Internet of Things (IoT)
The idea that every device can be made ‘smart’ and responsive reached new heights in 2016, but it was just the tip. Everything can be digitized and placed online by attaching sensors or chips. Washing machines, cars, skateboards, refrigerators, wallets, you name it.
Why? So it is easier to carry out simple everyday functions and get enough data to advise important life and business decisions. Athletes can better study their running patterns by making their shoes smart. Chefs can measure the calories in each dish, musicians can study their singing patterns more effectively.
The outcome? $157 billion spent in 2016 alone on connected things.
The benefit for businesses is improved data collection, remote execution and the ability to delegate tasks to things, not just people. While this may mean some people will be replaced, it also means small-scale businesses can become more competitive as they can do more with less.
Expect to see ‘intelligent’ devices to be increasingly interfaced with AI systems to provide more responsive systems.
With all these intelligent things and AI’s becoming operational, something needs to bring them into cohesion. They need to work together to execute advanced tasks. They need to mesh. Mesh App and Service Architecture (MASA) is the answer. The seamless integration of these devices will mean faster business responses and a lot of man hours saved.
While this is dependent on the work being carried out by large corporations and the business applications being limited in 2017, it’s never too soon to begin making preparations.
“What happens when the computers rise up against us?” Far-fetched as it may sound, this is the primary concern with artificial intelligence and autonomous devices.
That’s why cyber-security will be getting a major upgrade next year.
5. Adaptive Security Architecture
Improving technology means improving cyber-threats. With most of our money existing in the digital world, sensitive information available on the cloud and all our devices online, the dangers are more real.
But for every potential problem there is a solution. Adaptive Security Architecture will be able to protect your system and also improve the way it protects your business without the need for an upgrade.
As technology gets smarter, so will the protection. 2016 saw an enhanced use of biometrics. 2017 will take that to a whole new level, and this will be infused into ASA, alongside other protective methods. ASA will be able to predict, prevent, detect and respond to threats.
Out With The Old? Not So Fast
Besides the above listed technological changes, the world is still catching up with the advancements from this and previous years. Biometric tech has infused the financial sector, health-care and now mobile and personal computing.
Big Data is still one of the biggest changes in business in recent years and will continue to have a driving impact in the years to come.
Robotic technology is also gaining ground outside Japan, and is making its way towards more customer-
Other types of technological advances are out there helping businesses already and will continue. Things like peer-to-peer lending, made possible by using technology to directly connect lenders and borrowers, are here to stay.
There really is no telling what will come up next or how it will affect business in general or yours in particular.
What we do know, is the most responsive businesses stay on top, and that is precisely what we’re here to do: help you stay on top.
Author Bio: Jeffrey Nelson is the editor of WorkFromHomeHQAustralia.com. By day, he’s a professional working in corporate America but by night he spends his hours writing about business and finance as well as a little tech. He has a passion for helping people start their own business online.
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