Not that long ago you could find many successful businesses, not hugely influenced by technology. Today that’s no longer possible.
Technology is instrumental in just about everything in business and it’s causing disruption, in unexpected ways. There are a few really good TED talks on digital disruption, many of them designed to prepare us, so we realign our expectations with what the future of tech will look like.
Gazing into a digital crystal ball
The ‘tech revolution’ is gathering momentum. You only have to consider how fast things have moved for us, in Internet connectivity and mobile communications to know the technology revolution is much bigger than we acknowledge and that anything can and probably will happen, so this is not scaremongering, it’s time to expect the unexpected.
The importance of data
What we know is ‘BIG data‘ is a rule unto itself and is captured by businesses through various methods ranging from apps, website forms, ecommerce shopping carts, apps and slick point of sale systems in retail environments.
Data has been described as the oil that keeps business moving and, bearing in mind how much an organization can learn from its data, then Big Data tech will forge ahead albeit with secure encryption a few rules in place like the GDPR and similar data protection laws .
Already businesses can analyze how their customers behave in terms of buying habits, preferences and much more. Next will come even more segmentation, so businesses can market to their prospective and actual customers in even more detailed niche ways.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Billions of devices are connected via wireless technology and communicate with each other such as, say, a smartphone controlling a home security system via an app or being able to remotely adjust the owner’s central heating.
People using a smart energy meter that ‘talks’ to the energy company’s systems wirelessly to convey usage information is IoT in action.
IoT will figure significantly in driverless vehicle tech; the vehicles will ‘talk’ to roads and other transport infrastructure to navigate their way around.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The way computers and related tech can ‘learn’ how to think and make decisions; mobile tech such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa are basic examples of AI being put to use in mobiles, and in your home.
This technology is already harnessed in the automotive industry, with cars that can keep in the intended lane if the driver is distracted or detect them tiring at the wheel. AI is a key element in the development of robotics and goes hand in hand with Big Data, in that ‘intelligent’ computers will know how to use the data collected.
While many may think the next generation of mobile internet is just a number and will be that bit quicker than the previous version – as 4G is quicker than 3G – the forthcoming 5G ups the game of speed considerably.
While 4G offers speeds of typically 100 Megabits per second, 5G will produce an astonishing one to ten Gigabits per second – potentially 1,000 times faster than 4G.
The capabilities of connected devices will outstrip anything we have now.
A remarkable technology, enabling people to make their own products at home or in a workplace through a process where a physical item is made from a 3D digital model.
Some tech analysts say it could change commerce in general forever and – somewhat dramatically – eventually spell an end for manufacturing as we know it today.
It sounds like something from the realms of science fiction, but the tech is here now and already costs are within sensible reach; 3D printers costing $200,000 were already down to around the $2,000 range by 2010.
With IoT, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and superfast 5G, the driverless car is very much on the horizon.
This has big implications for business; along with being able to use driving time for constructive work, journeys should be shorter as the vehicles ‘talk’ to each other using the above tech. Delays such as traffic jams should be drastically reduced, improving efficiency and cutting down on wasted time.
The smart city
Using AI, IoT and 5G, homes and business premises – along with other buildings and infrastructure in towns and cities – will become ‘smart’ in the way they help business efficiency.
Smart city tech covers many areas but a key aspect is in transport efficiency, such as intelligent managing of rail travel and vehicle use. For example, an app that tells the driver where a parking space is, rather than them drive around looking and wasting time and resources and (until electric cars prevail) causing more pollution.
Technology must be harnessed for the success of business and indeed mankind. Knowing a little of where’s its going can prepare you for change and may give you a head start on your competition. Learn a little every day and over time it will surmount to enough knowledge to take action where it’s most beneficial. Better to be forewarned and forearmed than overwhelmed by change.