Technology and innovation are marching ahead of record speed, and simply staying abreast of the latest breakthroughs is difficult enough. However, from a business operator’s perspective, it certainly is important to stay on top of these developments—especially in terms of how they could affect the future of the business.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few business tech breakthroughs worth leveraging this year:
• 3D Printing
Everywhere you turn, people are praising 3D printers and marvelling at their possibility. They’re talking about using these devices to do everything from printing prosthetic organs to making pizzas in space. With that in mind, there’s probably a variety of ways in which businesses can harness 3D printing tech to their own advantage. Of course, more than a few futurists are saying that the hype around 3D printers is—well, just that: hype. With that in mind, this is (if nothing else) an area to watch and remain abreast of.
• Speed-Reading Applications
There are several speed-reading apps on the marketplace that have tapped into the science of how the human eye breaks down and digest the written word. As a result, speed reading is becoming more accessible to the masses. This has profound implications for the workplace, not least the possibility of employees absorbing, assimilating and dispersing information more effectively than ever before. This is just a hint of the way that technology can actually make our bodies stronger, faster and more—well, more computer-like.
• Fully Immersive Communications
The business world is no stranger to this style of information technology, and forms of tele- and video conferencing have been on the market for years. However, we’re beginning to see hints of greater breakthroughs, particularly in the realm of immersive teleconferencing. Currently, the best forms of high-tech communication that we enjoy amount to life-sized, real-time videos. However, as our video capture technologies grow and develop, we’re inching closer to something that resembles virtual teleconferencing. One good example is Viewport, an experimental tech that reconstructs 3D environments for teleconferencing purposes.
• Smart Lighting
This is a breakthrough is mostly pitched at homeowners. However, businesses of any size are likely to benefit even more, simply because they consume more power than a typical residence. Most companies have already phased out incandescent lighting in favour of compact fluorescence. Next up is more sophisticated ‘smart lighting’ systems that trigger different power systems and networks based on a variety of on-the-ground variables—everything from time of day to occupancy. As smart lighting systems develop, they promise to reduce overheads while enhancing company’s sustainability cred.
• Google Glass
The Internet is buzzing with press releases and late-breaking news about Google’s next big innovation. Presumably, when the product is finally available for order, it is going to offer a host of practical applications for businesses. This tech could be used to carry out seminars, conduct employee orientation, provide directions to the office for potential clients. In other words, don’t assume that Google Glass is only going to be applicable to private users. On the contrary, technologies like this could work wonders for a business.
• Reverse Outsourcing
Globalisation brought gave us the dirty word, ‘outsourcing’, and people across the West cringed to see jobs relocated to foreign markets where labour was cheap and regulations lax. However, we’re seeing something of a reversal of this trend of late, thanks in no small part to advancements in robotics tech. One of the most conspicuous of these was Foxconn (the company manufactures the Apple’s iPhone) moving production from Taiwan to the US. Robotic labour allows companies to flout human rights issues while maintaining tight margins and a breakneck pace on the production floor. So, just to be clear, jobs may be coming back home, but that doesn’t mean that humans will be taking them.
• Cloud Computing
For front-office management tasks, many SMEs are still juggling a combination of calendars, spreadsheets, and paper to stay organised. This archaic system has many issues – from making it tricky to share information to having to search through endless file cabinets for the right documents. Though you might be tired about hearing “cloud this, cloud that”, the benefits of cloud computing are undeniable as it can certainly help in alleviating the hassles involved in traditional bookkeeping.
Ask yourself what technology you might be missing in your business today. While there is no need to have all of the innovations discussed above, you should at least be using one of them in your operations. Your employees would become a whole lot more productive which would make your company better able to cater to client needs. This leads to more profit in the long term.