Business is constantly evolving. Sometimes it evolves so slowly that we don’t even really notice it, but if we stopped adopting the latest technologies, it would soon become evident that we were lagging behind the competition.
The way we work and will continue to work in the future is changing so quickly that we never really know what our offices will look like in a couple of years, but if we want to stay ahead of the game, we need to make a real effort to keep up to date with the trends that will change the way we work and give us a competitive advantage. Here are some of the biggest tech trends that are and will reshape the way we work now and in the future:
Automation has been happening for a long time now. Ever since the industrial revolution, when machines were installed to take on the more time-consuming tasks of creating products for the masses, we have relied on machinery to aid us in our work. However, there has never been a time in the past, where we could conceive of machines doing almost all of our grunt work for us like there is now.
A lot of people are worried that increased automation could lead to huge job losses globally, but they seldom stop to think that, if the grunt work is being taken care of by machines, how we can all concentrate our efforts on increased creativity and innovation. The less time we spend on menial tasks, the more time we can spend creating value and that is never a bad thing.
One of the big trends that are coming up right now is that of Artificial Intelligence. Computers that are able to learn from their mistakes may sound scary to some, but they could also help to seriously improve our ability to work productively by taking care of some of the more complex and time-consuming facets of business.
Smart machines, like robotic arms, will enable us to carry out dangerous tasks more safely than ever. They can be programmed to do manual tasks very well, and many can even adapt to changing circumstances. This will be good for all manner of businesses who will be able to cut the costs of insurance and keep their staff safer by employing these smart machines in tough circumstances.
Never before have we been so able to collect data on everything from the amount of sales we make to the kinds of products and services people are looking for. Using data collection software can completely transform our ability to make money and offer products and services people actually want, but assigning a value to every stage of the supply chain, via tracking.
Data tracking could also save us money, when applied to things like energy consumption, wastage, and Wi-Fi, highlighting the areas where money and resources are being drained, enabling us to make bigger and better decisions in the future.
Skype, smartphones and the internet have all made it easier than ever for entrepreneurs and business people to collaborate, and doing so could just change the world one day. The more that talented people get together to share ideas and bounce off each other, the more advanced our products and services are likely to get. Taking ideas from the collective conscious is more likely to result in major breakthroughs than individual work ever can.
Of course, the internet and software like Skype make it easier than ever for employees to throw off the shackles and work where and when they like. In the future, it is likely that many more of us will work from home, saving money for businesses and saving time and energy on the commute for us. Not only is this likely to result in happier, less stressed staff, but it should have a positive impact on the environment as fewer people take to the streets during rush hour. It will also mean we can work from anywhere in the world we desire, so businesses can always find the best talent for the job, without location and visa restraints preventing their success.
Although the internet and related technology has been a boon for businesses in more ways than we can count, there has been one big downside – security breaches. With bod data and constant connectivity, has come the ability for all of our best ideas, and finances to be breached by unscrupulous individuals. Luckily, business security technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and now measures such as sensor badges, whole-system encryption, and visitor management programs have the ability to make our businesses extremely secure. We just have to be sure to put these measures into place.
Industry 4.0 is a breakthrough that will enable companies to digitize more of their work than ever before. It will bring together manufacturing with new evolutions in technology, such as big data, the internet of things and the digital supply chain, to make manufacturing more efficient than ever before. Some world leaders are already using it very effectively to streamline their businesses with smart manufacturing practices, and this is a trend that is set to continue as we move forward through 2017 and beyond.
In 2017, if a business isn’t digital, it probably isn’t doing anywhere near as well as it could be, which is why, in the future, Digital 2.0 will play a key role in industry. Once business have converted to digital, they will need to find new ways to deliver their products and services using digital technology, and this is what Digital 2.0 refers to. Digital 2.0 will see companies use analytics that will give them true insights into their companies and how they work. It will also enable them to support and help their workforce, empowering them to do more and be more with the help of all the digital tools available to us.
Now more than ever, companies are coming to terms with the fact that a greater work-life balance actually helps to improve creativity, productivity and success in just about every industry, which is why we are going to see more companies investing in tools like Headspace and Happify, which can help their staff to switch off and spend some time relaxing and recuperating from the stresses and strains of work.
Social media already plays a huge role in the customer relations and advertising strategies of many businesses, but as we move forward, it is likely that we will see social media used in even more innovative ways to build brand reputations, get people talking and keep the customer happy in ways that we can’t even imagine, as both businesses and social media companies invest in new technologies to make us even more connected.
As an entrepreneur, it is undoubtedly tough to keep up with the many new trends that are released on a seemingly endless basis. However, falling short of the mark is simply not an option. If you don’t keep up, your competitors will gain and advantage over you, and your levels of innovation will plummet.
By taking the time to hire the best individuals in every area, and by keeping abreast of technology, you can not only improve your company’s prospects now, but you can future-proof your business, so that you are always making the most of what is available to you and being as successful as you can be.
Photo Credit: Flickr