Current & rapid technological change can be hard for startups & small businesses to keep up with the latest Technology.
Topics: Robots, Drones, 3D Printing, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Internet of Things.
Entrepreneurs need little convincing that the latest technology is important, rapidly evolving, & likely to have a profound impact on their business. But keeping track of developments, & knowing where to focus one’s attention, is anything but straight-forward. Analysts at the world’s latest Accounting firm says the impact of constant technology breakthroughs represent a “mega-trend” – a change so big that “every business should develop an emerging technology strategy”. They have highlighted eight (8) key areas that all businesses should pay attention to.
1. Robots. Experts say the global robotics and automated devices market is now entering a smarter phase and will be worth a predicted $226B by 2020. Collaborative robots (Cobots), which can “mimic & learn” tasks from humans, are set to revolutionize workplaces. There are many applications, from material handling & manufacturing to dispensing in processing that Cobots could help with as the latest technology.
2. Drones. A senior member of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, says the rapid advancement of drone technology, combined with a desire to reduce fuel costs, means drones will become common-place over the next 5 years. Estimates of the market will be worth $127B by 2020 as one of the latest technology. Curran predicts supermarket deliveries, aerial photography, advertising at public events & security/surveillance will all make use of drones soon. But he warns businesses to take note of concerns regarding safety, privacy and of Civil Aviation Authority regulations.
3D Printing market will revolutionize manufacturing as a whole, enabling the creation of affordable, tailored products produced locally. The sector is estimated to be worth more than $30B by 2020. We will see much faster delivery of items, including specialty items, as they will be printed locally. Businesses need to start thinking about how they can adapt & interact with these technologies when they become more affordable. They need to start to plan for how they will use 3D printing in the future as one of latest technology.”
4. Artificial Intelligence is growing rapidly and forecast to be worth $36B by 2020. A noted Scientist says machines can learn from past experience better than humans can and are very effective at making unbiased predictions. This is a powerful tool of the latest technology is highly competitive, low margin markets such as retail. But machine learning takes time & requires a lot of data. “The most important piece of advice I would give to small businesses is to keep all business-related data “Data is valuable.”
5. Virtual Reality (VR) It’s affordability now makes it within reach of even the smallest of businesses. “It offers a huge range of opportunities for business, from product visualization to virtual tours, training employees in safety-critical processes, even improving health & well-being of staff & customers. Larger businesses have been using VR for quite a long time for product design & visualization – as well as simulation & training. The difference now is that cost is no longer a barrier. Even the smallest business could consider investing in some 3D product marketing, such as a 360-degree video virtual tour.
6. Augmented Reality (AR) and its better known cousin Virtual Reality (VR) are growing rapidly and revenues from these industries are forecast to reach $120B by 2020. There are clear differences – VR is an “immersive experience” whereas AR provides the ability to place a virtual image into a real environment. A car engine manufacturer, for example, would be able to create a “holographic” image of a proposed design. “You’d be able to walk around it, look closely at all the different parts and understand the idea before it has been created. This has huge implications for businesses involved in manufacturing, architectural design & proto-typing.”
7. Blockchain – is best known as the ledger that records all Bitcoin transactions. But entrepreneurs have spotted that there are many uses of Blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and investments are pouring in. A professor at a Business School says DLT has the potential to disrupt countless industries and is the “next big thing” for financial services. “Blockchain, or DLT, is a bunch of computer code that literally anyone with a computer or a smart-phone can use to create, exchange & record value. A very useful side effect of this technology is a complete, immutable and – at the same time – freely observable record of transactions.”
8. Internet of Things (IoT) Researchers estimate there will be $9B “things” connected to the internet by the end of 2020. They expect to see big growth in “smart-home” technology such as smart thermostats, connecting lights & security systems, as well as wearables such as smart watches, fitness & payment devices. Many of these products are in their infancy, but expects “substantial growth over the next 5 years – although there are still big challenges in convincing consumers there is value in these items. “Most industries are still working out how to create customer value from IoT, and therein lies the opportunity for small businesses and startups. Entrepreneurs can act quicker and don’t have to adapt big legacy systems and data architectures to the world of connected devices. However, big businesses have the data & the scale. Therefore, we see a great opportunity for collaboration.”
Comments: Are there any other significant of Latest Technology that you think an Entrepreneur should know?
from Guardian Small Business Network 11 Oct 16 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
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