Technology is the future of business. There is absolutely no doubt that the next five years or so will bring big changes in technological trends that will shape the way people buy and sell, and subsequently, how and where entrepreneurs do business.
Whether you are thinking about business applications or marketing methods, it is important to identify the most important technological trends, especially those that are likely to be influential for the long-term. Most trends don’t last long and are eventually replaced by something better. To know which ones to invest your time in, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is its immediate impact on my business?
- What is its long-term impact?
- Can I customize the trend to fit my business niche?
- Will the trend help me take my business to another level?
Out of all the new emerging technologies out there, here are the top five that are likely to have both an immediate and long-term impact. Remember, though: even though these developments are powerful, you need to apply them correctly in order to achieve your goals.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning
Top marketing thought leaders predict Artificial intelligence (AI) will revolutionize the marketing industry by 2020.
AI is all about programming computers and other machines so that they can work on their own based on the information fed to them. The result is that as a small business owner, you will no longer have to spend a lot of time marketing your business. With a minimal time investment, AI will take care of the rest of your marketing strategies.
As a result, businesses will significantly cut down on the costs of marketing, and the time required to accomplish the tasks, giving them more resources to focus on other areas of the business.
With AI and Machine Learning, small business owners should be thinking about how to integrate them into the already existing technology. It may also require (re)training of employees and knowing how to interpret results.
The best thing about the whole process is that you only have to do it once, and everything else will happen automatically afterwards. Some of the situation where you will need artificial intelligence apart from marketing include website creation, lead collection, and emails.
- Augmented Reality (AR)
This is because the main focus of AR is on product visualization. Small businesses are going to find the perfect way to showcase their virtual products in real time thanks to this technology.
Considering that product display is one of the main points of focus when it comes marketing, there is no doubt that every business owner will be monitoring this technological trend.
One of the earliest examples of how AR works is Pokemon Go. Just the same way that Oculus Rift Glasses are advancing, and Snapchat glasses are being introduced, the likes of Pokemon Go can only get better.
In a few years, customers will be able to see products in 3D in front of them and even try the features before buying. Whether you are thinking about in-store purchases or online shopping, there is no doubt that AR is going to have an immediate impact on your business.
- Virtual Reality (VR)
Additionally, there will be new relations between brands and their audiences. This is because the audiences will become active participants in the process, and not just bystanders.
Another area where AR will be significantly important is in the teleconferencing industry. Going forward, small businesses will find it much easier to connect with their audiences through virtual conferences. There also will be changes in the education market as well as e-commerce.
- The Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT has the potential to make everything in this life smart, which makes its use in business more wide-ranging than you can imagine. Whether you are thinking about seaports, street lights, or anything else, you can turn them into smart one through the Internet of Things.
The main focus of this technological trend is to gather, measure, and evaluate data. This is going to be one of the biggest operational pillars of small businesses. In a few years, it will be quite easy for people to use the sensors that are found in these systems to make smarter decisions.
- A Connected World
The world is now more closely connected than ever before, and it is going to be even closer in the coming year. This is not just about connecting through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
We are talking about a world where your car can communicate with your smartphone, or to your thermostat so that it can turn on the heat because you are heading home. With such connections, small businesses will greatly boost their marketing strategies. When almost everything communicates to the other, your business will move to a whole new level.
Of course, there are many other technological trends to look out for. Whether your business is a new one or it has been around for a long time, you need to have a clear plan of how to transition it into the future, and technology is what you are going to rely on.
As you will find out, some of these technological trends will take up most of the difficult work that you have had to do, leaving you with the most important task to focus on: growing your business and taking it to the next level.
About the author
David Kosmayer is CEO of Bookmark Website Builder, the future of web design combining artificial intelligence and website building. David is highly focused, dedicated and passionate about building successful companies.