Embracing tech for business growth

Rachel Passmore
Office Manager | Ojo Solutions
14th March 2017
Member roleChamber member

Whatever industry you are in, for your Business to thrive in today’s climate, tech and all the opportunities it can bring should not be ignored. Technology is now an intrinsic part of everyday life and is equally as vital in running a business. The key is to choose what to harness and utilise within your business to allow growth and adaptability.

This article will look at tech emerging and growing in 2017, specifically AI, the IoT & AR and how businesses should use them to their advantage.

The way we work is changing. Office spaces will become more virtual, geography will no longer be a major part of recruitment as workers can link up globally from their own homes. This immediately cuts running costs for a business.

The Millennial generation are taking on more leadership roles, shaking up traditional workplace formulas. Millennial entrepreneurs aren’t trying to do it all, and maybe that’s what’s leading them to be successful. They recognise their strengths in running a business, and aren’t afraid to bring in the right people to manage the rest. Collaborative approaches that stretch across business sectors will only increase. Apple Pay & Mastercard first joined forces, tapping into Mastercard’s large user base and giving Apple the opportunity to use one player to work out any teething issues before rolling out across more platforms. ‘My Starbucks idea’ collaborates with its customers, encouraging the sharing of product ideas.

Startups collaborating with corporations can grow their concepts and ideas more quickly through crowdfunding investors and schemes. The benefit of crowdfunding is your group of “backers” know your product is continually improving and they are willing to invest their ideas, money, and social reach to ensure the success of your product. A genuinely good idea or product can hugely benefit from crowdfunding, it gives a chance for growth and investment for fledgling ideas by reaching a wider market & audience

This new breed of Business ownership is also harnessing technology to better maintain a work/life balance, allowing them to work from anywhere, ensuring they take their holiday and scheduling in exercise are all time efficiencies.

AI and the idea of a computer self improving is becoming a commonplace idea, although many still see it as a futuristic model, it is definitely relevant. Whether you use an AI based assistant to schedule and maintain your calendar, have your supermarket bill tallied by AI in an Amazon Go shop or use a driverless car, AI in some form is already available in most areas of life.

It is clear that AI will disrupt numerous business models and businesses must adapt and invest in working with technology around them to enhance their industry. Amazon's Echo and Google's Home are AI-based devices that are already changing the way we socially interact, without leaving our living rooms. In terms of disrupting business models and how we conduct business, companies such as ‘Leadcrunch’ áre already using AI technology to potentially remove ‘cold calling’ in place of warm leads, which would be welcomed by most businesses.

Employers need to invest in human resources enhancing their talents, transforming their jobs for the AI revolution and avoid more jobs being lost to the likes of IBM Watson. To keep humans ‘relevant’ and working alongside AI technology.

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the connection of devices to the Internet. Cars, kitchen appliances, and even heart monitors can all be connected through the IoT.

It's certain that the IoT will affect small businesses. Knowing whether this effect with be positive will be shown by how businesses can utilise devices in order to take advantage of the IoT. Connect cameras for real time office monitoring, mobile credit card readers which connect to smart phones, fleet trackers to keep track of shipped products. These are all time, money and manpower saving applications for businesses. The IoT can potentially improve the bottom line by reducing operating costs, increasing productivity and expanding to new markets or developing new products and concepts.

As Augmented Reality (AR) devices are more widespread and, importantly, affordable, businesses need to find new ways of reaching and interacting with customers. “Viral marketing” will no longer be limited to retweets and shares on social media, it will happen in the real world, interacting directly with customers. The potential for marketing and promotional applications is limitless. In a few years, companies will be able to generate interactive holographic displays and applications to showcase their Business.

With the hybrid of AR & VR, ‘Mixed Reality’ just around the corner these technologies are likely to become a major component of our daily lives in the next few years. Already the way sports are being watched is harnessing this technology, Microsoft Hololens is currently working with the NFL to completely change the way fans can watch and interact with players, its advertisers and sponsors as well as having real-time game experiences. Those businesses wanting to extend their platforms for brand engagement, who start taking a serious look at this now can only stand to profit from it in the future.

Unfortunately, with ever advancing technology comes the potential for increased cyber threats and it is clear that hackers are getting more creative in their efforts. The underlying theme is ‘be prepared’. For any Business, security should not be thought of as a reactive afterthought.

All Businesses need to continually adapt in order to survive. By embracing modern technologies and recognising which can add value financially or from a time management viewpoint your business can not only survive but thrive and stay relevant in 2017 and beyond.

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