While a lot of technological innovations are focused on making the lives of end consumers better, some are set on improving businesses. These technologies are landmarks that represent huge shifts in the way businesses operate.
Most technology investors keenly monitor the progress of companies in these sectors. Governments also typically grant R&D tax credits to them because of the immense potential they have for the economy. Here are the top four technologies that are changing business as we know it:
Probably the most useful innovation on the internet, cloud computing has almost wholly revolutionised how businesses run. Cloud computing allows individuals and organisations to create, share, process and store files and programs on internet servers.
Cloud computing services are broadly divided into three categories:
- Infrastructure as a service(IaaS): these services provide users with networks, servers and operating systems, e.g. Amazon Web Server, Microsoft Azure etc.
- Platform as a service(PaaS): allows for users to develop, test and manage software, e.g. Cloud Foundry, Open Shift etc.
- Software as a service (SaaS): help users connect with applications through the internet, e.g. Google Applications, Zendesk, Office 360 etc.
There is a massive drop in overhead cost for corporations that embrace cloud computing. However, that’s not all; businesses that have taken advantage of cloud computing services have reported increased productivity by almost 40%. They’ve also reported an increase in flexibility and collaboration. Companies can outsource work and monitor it effectively, mainly due to cloud computing.
Internet Of Things (IoT)
IoT is a term used to describe a complex system of interrelations between multiple devices and users that communicate with one another without human intervention. The advent of cloud computing is what has made IoT possible.
With IoT, large businesses can now monitor their operations in real-time while ensuring efficiency.
Another change IoT has made to businesses is making them data-centric. Data collected from multiple sources, including user interactions, are now being used to inform corporate decisions. The long term benefit of this is that organisations can better accurately predict what customers want and produce it － a win-win for both parties.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
One of the great innovations of modern-day technology is teaching machines to learn. A by-product of IoT, AI is a field that has taken a life of its own. Artificial Intelligence allows machines to perform complex functions without the help of humans.
AI, through the help of machine learning, allows for organisations to go beyond the automation of processes. Algorithms are designed to pick up trends from IoT or other data sources and analyse them to make decisions.
One of the more common examples of how AI is influencing businesses is the chatbots on e-commerce websites. These bots are trained to respond to consumer inquiries and help them find products that they are looking for. As it is with most AI applications, they are cheaper and more efficient than hiring manual assistants.
Although blockchain is almost synonymous with cryptocurrencies, they are two completely different notions. Blockchain is a secure digital ledger that is used to keep track of things, including financial transactions. The distributed nature of its storage also means that it allows for records to be inputted at an incredible rate.
Unsurprisingly, one of the most significant applications of blockchain technology is in finance. The differing currencies and regulations across borders make sending and receiving money complex for multinational organisations. With blockchain technology, payments can now be made instantly across continents through instruments like bitcoin.
Other applications of blockchain technology in recent times include supply chain technology and food safety. According to some estimations, at least 30% of manufacturing organisations with over $5bn in assets will have implemented blockchain technology by 2023.
So, while the hype around cryptos might have reduced to a whimper, blockchain in itself is growing by leaps and bounds.
Business growth is one of the drivers of technology development. In the race to make services and operations more efficient, technology will always be at the fore. At the end of the day, everyone is better off; whether they are producers or consumers.