In the past year, plenty of tech innovations have made their way to mainstream use — from the connection of 7 billion IoT devices, to the rapid proliferation of artificial intelligence. Now that we’re in the final quarter of 2019, it’s time to ask ourselves: What are the upcoming tech trends for 2020? How can my small business invest in them to reap the benefits? Do I have these trends mentioned in my technology playbook?
Automation is getting big — and cutting costs
As automation technology evolves, its use is becoming popular for small business owners across industries. Contrary to popular belief, the technology won't actually signal the end of all jobs, as the World Economic Forum believe that it could create 58 million new jobs by 2022. So whether it’s for email marketing, data entry, customer services, or any other business process, businesses can achieve more with less, thanks to automation.
Cash free is the new way to go
Not only do mobile payments reduce your operational costs, they also present a secure way of transferring money — you no longer have to worry about cash at the register. Make use of the plethora of mobile cash apps, such as PayPal, Venmo, Paysafecard, and Neteller, which users can simply send their money at the press of a button.
5G is taking off
Currently, 5G connections are slowly taking over — with four live 5G networks already in operation in the United States. By 2020, the technology will not only expand further across the country, it’s most likely going worldwide. Pushing an average download speed of 1 Gbps, 5G connectivity has the potential to make business and communication for small businesses easier and faster.
Break out your math skills. If 5G is 10x faster than 4G that’s like driving at 66 MPH rather than 60 MPH. If you were taking a trip from NYC to LA, that would save you about 4 hours and 25 minutes on your trip.
Voice search is catching on
As IoT technology becomes more popular, and the use of devices like Google Home become the norm, it comes as no surprise that voice search and voice recognition technology is on the rise. Now, when building an online presence, SMBs have to think about not just keyword optimization, but voice search optimization as well. That's because people don’t just speak in keywords, but full-on sentences, and entering 2020 with voice-optimized search options are a great way to get a head start while usage is still relatively new.
Data privacy regulations are on the horizon
As data breaches continue to happen to giants such as Facebook and Google, it’s safe to say that the public is rallying around data privacy laws. In fact, the EU has already passed the General Data Protection Regulation, while California has passed the California Consumer Privacy Act. As this trend rises, the importance of protecting your data to avoid falling victim is emphasized. It's best to start developing a data loss prevention system and a security protocol that includes encrypting confidential data.
How can you capitalize on the trends above?
It’s clear enough why business leaders need to look to these developments and adopt them, but the how is an entirely different story.
Start with your organization’s strategy. Look at where these new technologies could impact you most – good and bad. Then consider the impact on your team. New tech can be intimidating for employees, who may be in constant fear of losing their job to AI or robots. Explain the benefits of these technologies and how they can be used to support the company, and make sure they feel secure in their positions.
The next is to be financially ready for these innovations. You should be reviewing your technology playbook at least quarterly with your outsourced or in-house tech leader. This will help you budget and plan. Aside from carefully analyzing the technology’s potential returns, it’s also important to look into your company’s financial readiness to invest.
Finally, Daniel Newman, President of Broadsuite, recommends doing thorough research before purchasing a service to fully understand what you’re getting into, and always think ahead. As you adopt one of the five technologies listed above, continue to measure and optimize as you go, to ensure you technology is aligning and helping you progress towards your business’ goals.