Businesses adapt or die, especially in high-stakes situations like the COVID-19 pandemic. The current health crisis has compelled governments, schools, and businesses to fast-track technological integrations and changes, including digitization and automation. The rise of social media ads, online shopping, and customer service chatbots are only the tip of the iceberg. Below are the four biggest tech trends in business today.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence uses computers and machines to simulate human intelligence, specifically in tasks like decision-making and problem-solving. Companies have integrated AI in the workplace in different ways. In fact, these AI innovations are closer to consumers than they think. Famous examples include digital voice assistants like Siri and Alexa. Social media giant Facebook uses DeepText to analyze the content and emotional meaning of thousands of posts in multiple languages. It also uses DeepFace to recognize users’ faces in all photos shared on the platform. Besides making it easier for people to tag themselves and their friends in photos, the technology allows Facebook to detect and remove revenge porn from its site.
Data from a 2017 Deloitte study revealed that AI has helped their business through enhancing product features, functions, and performance, optimizing internal business operations, and freeing up workers to be more creative. On the other hand, challenges posed by the use of AI in business include the difficulty of integrating cognitive projects with existing systems, expensive technologies, and managers’ lack of knowledge of AI.
2. Robots and Automation
While automation has been closely associated with robots, it does not exactly mean replacing human workers with machines. Automation involves using a system that completes repetitive tasks without human labor. Though robots are an excellent example of this, there are many other forms of automation in use today. For instance, email marketing software can be used to automatically send emails and follow-up messages to a contact list. Chatbots can also be designed to answer routine queries from customers. Since businesses spend $1.3 trillion on customer service calls every year, it would make sense to take advantage of automation to cut costs. Additionally, accounting automation in real estate has been proven to reduce errors and help companies save time and money. More advanced automation systems such as machine learning can even be used for more complicated tasks like talent acquisition.
Meanwhile, advances in robotics have helped several industries especially now that measures to reduce person-to-person contact are in place. For example, robotic lifting machines help nurses lift elderly and immobile patients. In addition, farmers benefit from self-guided tractors and harvesters. Robotic chefs are also used to prepare several meals swiftly and efficiently.
Cyberattacks have become increasingly common as the years go by. In 2017, the number of cyberattacks around the world doubled. That number is expected to go up as more and more businesses go online. Hackers can harm your business in more ways than one. They can gain access to client lists, customer credit card information, product designs, and manufacturing processes. More importantly, a hacking incident can endanger your company’s finances and reputation, especially in industries that are expected to be extremely protective of customer information such as banks and telecommunication companies. Nonetheless, cybersecurity is crucial even in other industries and small businesses. After all, a hacker can use information from one company as a stepping stone to victimize their clients, suppliers, or business partners.
To protect a business from cyberattacks, it is vital to train employees and deploy the necessary software. Based on research, 43% of data loss is attributed to employees who carelessly or maliciously give your company’s data to cybercriminals. When choosing antivirus software, make sure that it is tried and tested by independent parties. Check if it provides protection against viruses, spyware, ransomware, and phishing scams. Also, back up your files regularly so that you can continue to run your business even if your original data storage is compromised.
4. Social Media Advertising
Companies that are inactive or unavailable on social media stand to lose a huge share of the market. In a time when social media is treated as a one-stop-shop for shopping, information, and communication needs, it is imperative for businesses to build an online presence. Several individuals have started their businesses in quarantine, and most of them have relied on social media to market their products and services. Social media influencers and personalized marketing are indispensable elements of this advertising trend. Authenticity and trustworthiness are two of the factors that make influencers effective in driving up sales.
The creation of 5G infrastructure is a response to the demand for faster internet. Beyond that, however, startups have begun experimenting with 5G to help towns manage their public lighting networks and to assist drones in exploring the seafloor. Moreover, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), which became popular as a means of entertainment, are now being used in employee training and customer service.
To sum it up, businesses and technologies are developing hand in hand. Changes will continue to be made as the world strives to keep a balance between public health and economic stability. Artificial intelligence, robots and automation, cybersecurity, and social media marketing are only some of the top trends in business technology in 2021.