By now, it is cliche to say that technology is growing exponentially, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. Our response to the pandemic, coupled with a growing trend towards AI, automation, and machine learning, has brought mass adoption of several new and groundbreaking technologies. These technologies are sure to revolutionize the small business world.
Let’s have a look at some of the bold new tech sweeping through the realm of small business.
5G and the IoT
Many can put together the fact that 5G equals faster internet. However, there is much more to 5G’s potential than faster browsing speeds. The most groundbreaking advancement 5G will bring to small businesses is reduced communication delays.
Latency is defined as the time it takes for information to travel from one device to another. 5G reduces latency, meaning connected devices can communicate much faster than with 4G LTE. For businesses that increasingly rely on IoT technology, this means near-instantaneous communication between devices, sensors, and networks.
Your small business should make the switch to 5G as soon as possible. This technology opens the door to other burgeoning tech fields like AI, machine learning, cloud computing, and automation.
How to get 5G
Verizon and AT&T are offering 5G to select areas across the United States. This rollout is expected to cover larger areas with time. Check out this post to learn how you can tell if your area is 5G equipped.
That leads us to…
You might think that the benefits of AI are only available to larger corporations and out of reach for your small business. However, AI is already hard at work, revolutionizing the business world in ways that are already affecting your business.
Google’s AI programs are already streamlining many processes that once cost small businesses time and money.
Google’s AI Infrastructure
Google offers businesses the opportunity to train and develop personalized AI for completing the mundane and time-consuming tasks that take away from efficiency and profitability.
The automation of data entry and analysis is one of the few ways AI is revolutionizing the way businesses function. There are also AI functions for translating languages, interpreting text to speech or speech to text, pattern recognition in pictures, and other data sets. All of these tools can help streamline your business’ workflow.
Machine learning enables the automation of customer service. Far removed from robocalls and phone-based dial menus, chatbots are becoming more responsive and better equipped to triage the needs of consumers, helping them get the specific help they need.
Google’s chatbots can detect emotion and process sentiment. Their Dialogflow helps to make virtual agents knowledgeable and sensitive to the needs of your customers.
Essentially, cloud computing uses a network of computers to manage, process, and store data. The scalability of cloud computing allows smaller businesses to compete with larger companies efficiently. This is because small businesses no longer require the in-house personnel, servers, and IT infrastructure necessary to make waves in their industry.
Cloud computing is not only cost-effective but more efficient and more secure than traditional data management systems.
The Democratization of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing was once an expensive luxury that only large companies with an extensive marketing budget could afford. However, there are various software and marketing tools available to small businesses so they can compete with the bigger fish and get out in front of their target audience.
It’s Never Been Easier to Implement Your Own Effective Digital Marketing Strategy.
As this technology becomes more available and user-friendly, small businesses can build drop-and-drag websites, conduct email marketing campaigns, run PPC campaigns, coordinate social media content, plan and post engaging content and build a brand from scratch.
There are tools to help automate and streamline nearly all of your small business’ digital marketing needs.
The Pandemic and HR Overhaul
With the effects of the pandemic still very prominent in today’s work culture, HR tech has risen to meet the new challenges of managing a remote workforce. New HR software utilizes much of the previously listed technologies to bring a new level of quality and effectiveness to HR management.
Prioritizing Remote Employee Experience
One goal of these emerging HR tech platforms is to create an engaging and personal experience for workers trapped at home or otherwise working remotely permanently due to changes in their company’s operations.
Recent emphasis on mental health and self-care is now becoming more widely adopted by HR departments. They are using newer HR software to engage with and evaluate the health and wellbeing of their employees.
Seamless Integration Makes For a Better Employee Experience
Another goal of these tech platforms is to integrate seamlessly with existing productivity tech – like Salesforce, Slack, and other task management programs. This mass integration of systems requires the adoption of IoT and 5G. Many of these technologies are interdependent and build off of each other.
Apart from being the parent technology to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Etherium, blockchain’s many use cases go far beyond a highly secure and transparent ledger of financial transactions.
A Bad Rap
Though cryptocurrency used to be associated with black market finances, the effectiveness and wide-ranging applications of the actual technology behind cryptocurrency have pushed blockchain technology to near-mainstream adoption.
The Future is Decentralized
The way blockchain technology works is unique. This will be an oversimplified explanation, but here it goes:
Instead of accessing one central network controlled by a financial institution, users exchange information on a decentralized network made up of all the users. In this way, the entire history of transactions is available to any user – even though the actual data is encrypted.
Additionally, any changes to the record require all or at least a large majority of users to verify. That means the ledger data is tough to tamper with. Because of the cryptographic nature of how data is encrypted into the blocks that make up the chain, encoded data is also incredibly secure.
Transaction Doesn’t Necessarily Mean “Money”
The potential to utilize an incredibly secure, completely transparent, and decentralized network is a business owner’s dream. The applications go far beyond managing payroll records. Think of data storage, record keeping, product and employee identification verification, digital security, and other areas this new tech will impact.
Don’t Get Left Behind!
As mentioned above, technology is growing exponentially. As cliche as the phrase is, the fact is irrefutable. Your small business’s survival depends on how it adapts to the ever-changing technological landscape. You can ride the wave or resist the change, but ultimately, these new technologies offer excellent opportunities to make your business more profitable and efficient. Ignoring them is only detrimental.
About the Author
Veronica Baxter is a legal assistant and blogger living and working in the great city of Philadelphia. She frequently works with David Offen, Esq., a busy bankruptcy lawyer in Philadelphia, PA.