The world of tech is always coming up with new innovations, new trends, and the new latest “thing” in tech media. However, for businesses with a little bit of capital to invest and a desperate need to get ahead of the competition, the key isn’t in listening to the hype and following the marketing, but rather, identifying the smart investments and figuring out exactly what innovations are worth pursuing, and what innovations are best left in obscurity.
After all, no matter how great a technology may be, ultimately it’s not the tech that does the trick, but how companies improve their very own specific businesses processes through the use of modern technology. From aiding in communication to production, automation, distribution and more, technology is meant to aid in efficiency and remove or replace antiquated, obsolete systems for any and all business processes. It’s mean to make life easier, not harder. Insofar, businesses are tasked with finding the right tech for their job.
Business-specific Social Networks
Unlike a business-centered social network like LinkedIn, this is refers to the growth of intercompany, brand-exclusive social networks that act as directories for employees to share ideas, discuss company-relevant topics, brainstorm on projects and facilitate inter-department communication through threads, updates, chat instances and other dashboard features.
Through such brand-specific social networks, company communication can go off-the-charts. The danger, then, is keeping personal and professional matters separate, encouraging a passion for work rather than irrelevant utilization of the company’s networks. Once you’ve dealt with this challenge, however, the benefits clearly outweigh any and all downsides.
The blockchain is the technological backbone of Bitcoin, the world’s first real decentralized cryptocurrency. While Bitcoin itself is having some trouble becoming a common alternative to regular fiat currencies, the blockchain is already being utilized by plenty innovators and disruptors in the tech world to create a secure, decentralized consensus system.
Basically, every computer involved in the blockchain’s processes contributes resources to verifying data before it is added to the blockchain, and the blockchain itself cannot be hacked or tampered with without the agreement of over half of all connected computers. It’s the next step in authorization, eliminating the need for middlemen and escrow to create trust, and allowing faster, simpler processes in everything from signatures to financial transactions. Investopedia refers to it as the first public and truly secure ledger.
While it may sound like a connection of rather random terms, customer-inclusive co-creation is a real thing, and it’s growing. The simplest example is citizen journalism. Vogue and small Internet-based media platforms (as well as larger mainstream media outlets, such as CNN) encourage people to become part-time journalists by sending in stories in the form of smartphone-recorded videos or evidence-filled exposes, creating a platform where the people create news for the people.
Alternatively, blogger outreach and other forms of communication through social media and webinars allows businesses to more concretely interact with their customers, allowing the design of new products as per popular demand.
Video Conferencing Platforms
Proper video conferencing systems for IT companies like BlueJeans Network require less hardware, less software installation, and less infrastructure, especially in the case of such top-of-the-line products. Through the cloud and web-based application development, getting into a high-quality conference call has never been easier and cuts down on both time and money in tasks such as intercompany meetings, client brainstorming sessions and more.
Digital Tagging and Automation
Among retail and large suppliers in general, digital tagging and automatic inventory management is becoming a larger trend. Instead of scanning the Universal Product Code, stocking machines can track products and move them around based on their radio-frequency identification card, which stores more information than your typical bar code. However, as per RFID Journal, RFIDs and bar codes will doubtlessly coexist for a long time before the bar code becomes obsolete.
Big Data and Performance Management
Science in management is another key phrase among businesses looking to get an edge over the competition and produce a better product or service. For example, if your business generates lots of location-based data, you can use a data visualization tool to gain better insights from your data. With the rise in technological innovations on a day-to-day basis, the need for better performance-tracking technology arose as companies wanted to know exactly how much impact any given technology or change has on the productivity of their employees. Through today’s standards, that question can easily be answered.
Data as a Commodity
This isn’t about personal data being sold to the highest bidder – rather, it’s about industry-specific data and information becoming valuable as more performance-recording and metric-calculating applications and technologies emerge on the market. Imagine a field reporting technology that takes into account customer behavior at a supermarket to optimize shelf stocking – and then takes that data and offers it for sale.
Alternatively, security companies might collect statistics on break-ins and shoplifting to help their clients formulate a better plan of action for keeping their homes and businesses safe.
While only some of these technologies may be interesting to your business in particular, looking into all of them can give you an idea of what the immediate future for big businesses will look like, with a rise in the implementation of technology to further create efficiency in large companies.