Not only do you need to be nimble in your field of business, but in this fast-moving world of technology, you also need to be up to date on the advances that could make jobs more efficient. Yet, when businesses set their annual budgets, only about 33% of it goes to improving technology. Here are the trends to track that can help increase technology innovations in business and keep you on top of the tech game.
As more businesses move online for the sake of convenience, they have to tackle the challenge of protecting data while optimizing speed for users. Most people actually envision a literal cloud when they think about their personal information leaking out onto the internet. But in reality, storing data looks like a large room with a bunch of servers. That space is one of the most important ones in business, even though it’s usually in a basement corner. It’s also one of those rooms with the highest temperature, which is not a good thing for those servers. It’s important to keep those areas cool to prevent meltdowns. That’s why it’s important to invest in air conditioning for data centers.
The cloud is the new wave of data storage. It provides ease of access to information from various locations and devices. And in general, employees love the cloud because it allows them to work from anywhere on their projects, and that can pay off in productivity. But in considering how to choose your cloud data storage, you should think about security, how much storage you’ll need, how your team is structured, and how often they’ll access information and the availability of backup storage.
There are alternatives to cloud storage for those concerned most about security. There’s network attached storage, which allows access for anyone on a local server, but also has a secure cloud option so that you can still work while your employees might be traveling for work. Another approach is local encryption of files, so that you wouldn’t have to rely on larger cloud services to do that part. That can offer a greater level of protection for our information. Also, some companies specialize in secure cloud storage, but this option requires some searching.
Whichever option is right for you, it’s worth keeping abreast of technology innovations in business when it comes to data storage.
Do you think a lot about paper trails? One of the biggest challenges to small businesses is running out of ink for their printers. Printer technology moves fast and keeping updated can save time and money. Right now, inkjet printers are the most popular, partly because inkjet printer parts — such as cartridges — are fairly inexpensive and last longer. For businesses who specialize in printing, such as screen printing companies that mass-produce clothing, staying on top of technology innovations in business is vital. A key component of technology innovations in business is finding products that are cost-effective.
For companies with a conscience, it’s important to look at options that are friendly to the environment. One way to do this is to choose printers that offer high-yield printer cartridges that can allow more pages printed per cartridge, meaning it takes longer for before they have to be discarded. Some companies allow customers to return the cartridges postage-free so they can be reused. Combine that with using recycled paper when possible, and you’re doing your best to reduce your footprint on the environment. You can usually find out about a printer’s Energy Star rating beforehand so you understand just how energy efficient it is as well.
And then there are 3D printers. The technology was developed beginning in the 1980s and now can be used to make everything from mask extenders (used to make the wearing of surgical masks to be more comfortable) to toys to homes. These days, 3D printers can work with materials such as metals, ceramics and some polymers. These printers can cost upwards of $4,000 each, but the amount it might save in productivity and efficiency for your business could be invaluable. The 3D printer is one of the technology innovations in business that has truly broken the mold.
There’s an App for That!
In this time of living with coronavirus, it’s important to understand that technology innovations in business can play. This is no different in the moving industry. After all, businesses are still relocating — and perhaps at a faster rate because of our new circumstances. For one thing, commercial moving companies can employ apps to reduce contact with others while keeping their move on track. Apps can also help you reduce the paperwork that your drivers might have trouble keeping track of and thereby increase their efficiency. A customized app can keep your company within easy access to those who need it.
More than 60 million people in the United States own a smartphone, which creates a major opportunity for businesses when it comes to connecting with consumers and employees. There are some businesses that rely completely on apps, such as ride-sharing companies. But all kinds of businesses have signed on for various reasons, including building customer loyalty, providing a channel for direct marketing, and customer engagement. Why would a buyer search for a business when one is at her fingertips? Some companies are also looking to apps to provide their employees with important internal communications in a quick and secure way.
Tracking Documents and Billing
A recent survey of attorneys reported by Aderant suggested that the technology innovations in business that are most important to them help them track documents, along with timing and billing. That makes sense when you think about it. If you’re a successful attorney at a law firm, it’s easy to lose track of which papers go where, and of who should be billed for which case. This is another task that can be computerized and redirect the efforts of human capital.
There are also apps available to bill and receive payment for customers. Some of these apps can help you keep track of spending and accounting. They can even help you build your budget by providing real-time insights about where your money is going.
Tech advances even mean that you can do things virtually that you used to need to do in person, such as buying a house. You can hire a Realtor, arrange your home inspection, track who has attending a viewing, and ultimately, who the highest bidder is, from across the country. And when it’s time to sign the dotted line, you can sign while relaxing on your couch. Companies that can provide this type of convenience can gain huge advantages over their competitors.
The continuing development of artificial intelligence (AI), or machine intelligence, has impacted just about every business type. It’s one of those exciting types of technology innovations in business because it allows computers to adjust and grow with the data it receives. Most people don’t realize the development of AI started back in 1955. Over the decades, there have been several obstacles to its development, including lack of funding and belief in the endeavor and fear of its success.
Since that time, businesses have found interesting ways to use artificial intelligence. An advertising agency can use artificial intelligence to get a better idea of who their audience is, and then tweak campaigns for greater effectiveness. Many businesses use AI to communicate with their customers through automated calls. There are great advantages to using artificial intelligence to allow human workers to focus on the work that machines can’t do.
As mentioned, AI has played a major role in another emerging technology — driverless cars. Self-driving cars combine several elements of technology, including GPS, radar, sensory awareness, and also lidar tech. They function with almost no human input, relying mainly on being able to sense the environment around them. Some experts project seeing an increase in the number of driverless cars on the road in the next five years. Those at the helm of this field say that as the use of these cars increase, it will eventually be less expensive than car ownership. If these projections are true, it can be a huge boon to businesses that use delivery services. It can allow business owners to redirect employees to tasks that can’t be done by machines.
If you’re a telecom service, your business has gotten much more important as more companies are shifting to work-at-home policies. That means reliable and consistent connectivity will be important. One of the major technology innovations in business is video conferencing and many larger companies have stepped in to fill this need. But there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a telecommunications company. Reliability is key — if you’re not able to connect your team, then that’s a huge obstacle. The other question to ask as a business owner is in regards to your big-picture plan. Will your telecom company be able to grow with your company? Is it customizable for your business needs? Security is also a major concern. As many companies take their communications online, they need assurance that their information is secure and unable to be seen by competitors. Also, it’s important to make sure that your employees can conveniently join on conference calls using various devices.
Businesses and organizations dedicated to online learning should also keep a finger on the pulse of telecom services. According to Shifte Learning, more than six million Americans are pursuing some type of online or distance learning. In addition, studies have also shown that this type of education takes up less time for employees and is still as effective. This requires more than simply watching a video — you want to ensure the ability of your audience to interact with instructors and each other. For that type of service, you’ll want capable camera abilities, solid audio, and responsive live chatting.
Even if your employees are viewing a video for educational purposes or for sharing important messages with them, you can still measure their effectiveness through backdoor tools that can show you how many of them have watched, and even how to tell you if they viewed the video in its entirety. That can help you decide which presentations need work, or if they might be too long to hold the attention span.
So it’s very important to keep an eye on any tech advances in this field. They can save time and money on education and communications.
The use of drones has truly expanded over the last decade. It’s not just about capturing awesome imagery at a football stadium. They’ve been used in the military, the entertainment industry, and even package delivery. Entire industries have emerged from drone tech in surprising ways. For instance, lidar mapping companies use pulsing lasers to help map a surface. Lidar stands for Light Detection and Ranging. This technology can be used to make high-resolution maps for use in surveying, geography, and other uses. It can even be used to provide navigation in self-driving cars. The mapping abilities in lidar is considered to be highly accurate.
Drone technology is legislated, however. Part of the reason for that is the ease in which you can engage your drone to fly anywhere and capture sensitive footage. If you own a drone, you need to register it with the Federal Aviation Agency in order to fly it, and then you’ll receive a certificate that proves your drone is legal. Failing to register your drone can lead to heavy fines — nearly $28,000 and possible prison time. So consider consulting with a business law firm to ensure that you are ready to fly.
Technology innovations in business are constant and fast-moving. It’s important to stay updated — it can affect the livelihood and longevity of your business. These innovations can be costly, but the good news is that a small business loan might be your solution to keeping up. The Small Business Administration might be able to help, along with bank loans and cash advances. Any investment made in keeping up with tech is an investment in the efficiency and sustainability of your business.