2016 saw technology adoption occur even for small start-ups, so the bigger players need to be one step ahead in 2017 and ensure they are barrelling forward with emerging trends. Digital transformations can reshape almost every aspect of a business, so here is my list and what I anticipate will define technology implementation in businesses for the next year.
IoT will create valuable customer experiences
The speed in which technology is advancing is similar to the pace of customer expectations. As companies become more tech-savvy, their customers are expecting more from them in way of service. The Internet of Things (IoT) will be instrumental in making this possible.
It has been labelled as the next industrial revolution and this great article online at Business Insider explains why!
• By 2020, the number of connected devices will rise to 50 billion.
• $6 trillion will be invested in IoT over the next five years.
Companies in 2017 need to think about what they offer in terms of IoT and how they can use this to improve their current level of service, as this technology can make everything that bit ‘smarter’.
Big data will become far more influential
The implementation of big data for all types of businesses will become a basic step in 2017. This will lead to major upgrades in speed and efficiency, and technology will evolve for improved big data storage for companies. We all leave trails of data wherever we go these days – each time we click on a website, or buy something, sign up to a newsletter or interact with an organisation, we produce data that, when aggregated and analysed can reveal trends about our behaviour. Used in the right way, providers can then deliver us personalised services we actually want – which of course, grows their profits. Win-win.
Such increased adoption will be fuelled by these various benefits that businesses can avail from big data. Not only does it help in developing better products and services and assisting customers better, it also provides a competitive advantage to the businesses.
VR and AR
Technology magazines, articles, techies and gamers were all-over Virtual Reality (VR) this year as the UK became closer to the arrival of VR headsets by the names of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
In 2016 VR was already proving to be a valuable tool within numerous industries, aside from just the video game industry, but it looks like it will be even more disruptive as it’s expected to turn the business landscape upside down from 2017. With headsets and other tools being made accessible, these technologies have come way beyond the gaming realm and into the world of businesses and customer interactions. For example, tech powerhouses like Google, Microsoft etc. are creating software and hardware for VR that will rival the appeal of the existing technologies and change how we shop, communicate and advertise. Stats out there saying as many as 67% of organisations will be planning to augment these technologies in their businesses, which shows 2017 is the year to get to grips with VR.
In terms of Augmented Reality (AR) it’s predicted that by 2020, over 100 million consumers will shop in AR, so again any business needs to understand what it is and what it can do!
We all heard and experienced the craziness of AR applications, such as Pokemon GO this year, but games like this are helping AR move into the mainstream, prompting more business to pay attention.
As mobile device usage increases, further blurring the lines between the physical and digital worlds, brands and their retail partners will need to develop mechanisms to leverage this behaviour. For example, a consumer pointing the IKEA catalogue app at a room in his/her home can now “place” furniture where they’d like it to go. This real-world element differentiates AR apps from those offering virtual reality (VR).
Mobile working will dominate
As technology evolves each year, the structure and way in which teams and businesses work will need to adapt. Employers should always be keen to consider better ways in which their people work and always try to make sure they have the best technology in their hands to do their job in the most efficient way.
New technologies are making it easier to access information and work regardless of location. The idea of mobile working is simple: it means giving people the tools to let them work anywhere at any time. In simple terms, it frees you from your desk.
With mobile working, travel is reduced as people are not having to go back and forth from the office and can travel between locations, hence being more productive. There is now a range of products and services on the market that enable you to manage emails, access your company database or even edit documents on the move. This approach is also key to now giving customers and potential customers the service they deserve from the start.
Sales teams and new business staff have the opportunity to showcase products via desktop or on a mobile device. Instead of simply demonstrating a product with a laptop, they can connect to a system and show real time updates and statistical figures remotely. Whether you kit-out your team with the latest mobiles, laptops, iPads or tablets, in 2017 you do need to consider how technology can make your working environment better. It’s not only about making sure your customers feel the benefit of tapping into tech, but your workforce too.
IT and tech savvy talent will soar
Many companies and their leadership teams were not designed for a market where customers and technology move fast. If in 2017 individuals are not ready to pick-up the pace they could be left in the dark ages compared to their new hires.
The search for talent is always a tricky one, but as old-school IT systems are constantly replaced by the most up-to-date tech, those graduates knocking on your door may know more than you (a scary thought!) So leaders across any company irrespective of if its tech based, need to ensure they are on the ball across all advances.
In 2017 it will be even more evident that there is a new breed of people who can manage all-new systems as well as AR, VR (and hopefully even CPR) as well as a new business technology agenda focused on the technologies that help companies win, serve, and retain customers.
Nazrul Hoque – 20 December 2016
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