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Tech Trends 2018

The rise of technology has led to some impactful trends such as The Internet of Things, augmented/virtual reality and migration to the Cloud. This increase in digitisation is set to continue, with networks and hardware companies advancing their technologies for the benefit of both business and consumers. There appears to be 3 key trends on the horizon which are set to impact SME’s this year:

1. Digitisation

The whole world now revolves around digitisation. Business processes are utilising digital forms and applications to store and manipulate electronic data, instead of resorted to old fashioned paper trails. This way of working helps businesses:

  • Increase operational efficiency through streamlining routine activities. Office 365 makes it easy to get the right people in one, virtual place by sharing calendars so your people stay on sync and on schedule.
  • Enhance customer service through increased responsiveness and better service level agreements. A great example of this benefit is Digital Forms, it allows you to capture data and deploy forms quickly and receive forms from the field in real-time.
  • Develop more innovative strategies to gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly commoditised world. With Box you can create, edit and review documents with others, add comments and collaborate in real-time giving businesses a competitive advantage through efficiency.

This increased use of digital apps further increases the risk of cyber-attacks. 2017 exposed some major breaches, such as the WannaCry attack in May which targeted businesses running old versions of the Microsoft Windows operating systems. The hackers held corporate data hostage through encryptions and demanded ransom payments to release the files. This highlights that although there are great benefits to utilising digital technologies, adding protective software to around this new way of working is key.

Consequentially, 2018 is due to enforce the strictest data protection rules to date, through the General Data Protection Regulations in May. The UK Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham has said, “However fast regulation moves, technology moves faster. Especially as far as data is concerned”. Products such as MaaS360 that helps manages devices and monitor file accessibility, along with Cloud Compute & Backup that replaces traditional on-premise hosted servers with a cloud service based on virtual servers, allowing added security.

2. 5G

The ‘Fifth Generation’ network, known to most as 5G, sees continued development this year and is due to be rolled out within the next 2 years. It will be significantly faster than the current 4G speeds which average a 50 millisecond response time, compared with 5G which boasts just 1 millisecond. It’s also predicted to enhance the battery life of devices and reduce network energy usage – both positive improvements for business employees out on the road. O2 have spent more than half a billion pounds to improve its network and prepare for the introduction of 5G technology. Although mobile operators are planning to run trials in 2018, it is likely to be a few years before 5G becomes a commercial reality. Watch this space…

3. Robotics

The past few years has seen the fast evolution of robotics, particularly in the consumer market. Notably, the Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri demonstrate how robotics are merging into our everyday routines to assist a nation addicted to electronics which aid convenience. From a business perspective, many websites are now opting to use chatbots (human-like chat responders) which can learn customer trends from their website journey and predict their needs based on this. This allows these robots to customise their query responses based on majority preferences. This person–centred learning has triggered a wider adoption of robotics in the medical industry for caregiving and other health issues and it has been predicted that by 2020, one in four hospitals will have deployed robotics to handle time-consuming tasks, reducing labour and preventing errors to assist in operations and improve patient safety.

Digital technology is rapidly evolving and becoming more automated, intelligent and data-driven. Businesses are becoming hyper-focussed on innovation that advances their digital transformation journey. What will your business do to keep up with this digital revolution?

For more information on digital applications available for SME businesses, please read our Hosted page.

Our Trusted Digital Advisors are on hand to discuss your needs on 0800 0646464.

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