It’s impossible to predict all the technological changes on the horizon, but keeping up with current trends can move your company forward.
No one expected the pandemic to shift the world into a more remote place with employees working from home at least some of the time and businesses scrambling to find effective ways to manage work-from-home teams.
Preparing for potential catastrophes is one way to ensure you choose the right tech products. However, simply seeing what is most beneficial to your company can also be a smart investment.
What Will Be the Next Biggest Technological Advance?
Sometimes a new invention changes everything, such as the iPhone or 5G connectivity. While it’s hard to say which ones will take hold, there are some significant ones on the horizon that specifically impact business.
Researchers at Gartner predict artificial intelligence (AI) software will reach $62 billion in 2022, an increase of 21.3 percent from the previous year. Due to the many applications AI has and the growth, we predict it will be the next big advance and continue to improve and grow over time.
Here are the things that make the most sense to invest in now.
4 Business Technology Advances That Support Growth
1. Smart Shopping Carts
Have you seen the videos where Amazon Fresh uses smart shopping carts in their limited number of pilot stores? The customer simply adds items and the cart totals what they owe, charges a card on file, and the consumer is on their way without ever checking out.
Not only are the carts a time-saver, but they can lower theft and reduce long waiting lines to check out. Since many retail establishments are fighting to hire enough workers to staff their stores, investing in self-checkout technology makes sense for larger brick-and-mortar establishments.
The carts connect to the Internet of Things (IoT) and make for a more positive and streamlined shopping experience for customers.
2. Artificial Intelligence
As mentioned above, AI is growing rapidly. However, what does that mean exactly for your business? AI streamlines digital processes.
An example would be ordering dinner from DoorDash. The system automates a lot of the tasks and shows drivers exactly what to do for their jobs, making everything run smoothly.
You might use AI to run analysis on your warehouse and how fast you’re getting packages out. You could also use it to keep in touch with customers and automate emails.
3. Virtual Reality
A recent poll of Americans showed around 42 percent of U.S. adults feel technology has improved life in the last 50 years. While virtual reality (VR) may fall into the category of something fun and different, there are many ways you can apply it to your business model.
IKEA’s use of augmented reality (AR) to showcase how their furniture looks in a room of your home is the perfect example of how retailers can embrace VR and AR to improve online shopping experiences.
4. Robotic Automation
As automation becomes more mainstream, manufacturers and retailers will utilize advances in this area. For example, a factory might implement a machine that does quality control checks or sends a report when a sensor shows too much vibration. Robots might even repair broken parts.
Retailers might use automation to fulfill orders, putting a number into the system so a robot can find the item in inventory and drop it into a box for shipping. Anything repetitive can be assigned to a robot and free up employees to work on more creative tasks that grow your business.
Invest in the Right Tech Stack for Business Growth
Just when you think you have the whole technology for business thing figured out, something new will arrive that changes the way your company functions.
Reserve funds for those amazing new technologies you never saw coming. Your business will thank you and your employees will thank you as you give them the tools to excel at their jobs.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a prominent digital marketing agency prior to becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.