When Will New Technologies Impact Small Businesses?

Huge enterprises are already taking advantage of bleeding-edge technologies that cut costs while improving efficiency and customer happiness. Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, big data processors and smart devices may seem too costly for small and mid-sized businesses, but many experts estimate that in the next couple years many once-elusive technologies will be used on a global scale.

Small business technology

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This will change the way businesses operate, enhancing security, productivity and cost-effectiveness, and it will ultimately change the way end consumers enjoy products and services.

AI Chatbots

AI technology is growing rapidly, and many businesses are already benefiting from the costs this technology cuts and the time it saves. Perhaps the most widely used AI technology that businesses are using to date is AI chatbots. In fact, Juniper Research estimates that chatbots will save companies $8 billion by 2022.

As consumers go increasingly digital, businesses meeting the growing demand of e-commerce are benefiting from the 24/7 availability of customer service that chatbots provide. With decreased staffing costs and faster response times, AI chatbots benefit both businesses and their customers.

Blockchain Supply Chains

Bitcoin is just one way of using blockchain. For bitcoin, the asset being recorded chronologically and publicly is money. In the supply chain, assets recorded with blockchain technology can range from raw materials, machines and parts to consumer products. Some supply chains are already utilizing blockchain, and some blockchain experts have said it could become the norm — a supply chain operating system that acts as a digital ledger for transactions made throughout the entire flow of goods and services.

For example, blockchain technology can record the quantity and time of transferred goods, such as o-rings, medical seals and other materials, as they travel between supply chain nodes. This chronological, public record-keeping mechanism makes it safer, quicker and easier for businesses to work together and transparently track all types of transactions. It’s also great for distributing information with your suppliers and vendors about the manufacturing process, delivery and maintenance of products.

Big Data Analytics

Big data is analyzed to identify patterns and connections that provide insights about users which businesses can use to make smarter decisions. Big data is estimated to symphonize into a booming market by 2020 and provide most businesses the opportunity to experience their peak growth.

As big data processing and storage costs continue to decrease, more and more businesses are able to use big data models to find new opportunities for growth and efficient ways to make their customers happier.

IoT Applications

The Internet of Things (IoT) means objects in our everyday lives can be “smart” through being connected to the internet. According to an estimate by Accenture, IoT technology will affect businesses by cutting repair costs by 12 percent and maintenance costs by 30 percent. For example, Cisco is now controlling the core functions of its 300 “smart” buildings, including climate, electric use and security, from just four locations. Siemens’ “smart” plant in Amerg has microsensors installed throughout the manufacturing process that has allowed the company to cut staffing costs and virtually eliminate product defects.

Gartner estimates that by 2020 there’ll be 25 billion smart devices in the world affecting the way we live and work.

Future Outlook

Some of the biggest new technologies influencing businesses today are AI chatbots, big data analytics, blockchain technology and smart devices. Many companies are already benefiting from these advances, and have been able to cut costs while improving customer satisfaction at the same time.

As the costs of these emerging technologies continue to decline, small and medium-sized businesses can begin reaping the benefits of high-tech growth.

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