Britain is a hub of innovation, particularly where technology is concerned. The average UK tech firm forecasts an 11% rise in sales by 2016 and this is four times the rate of UK GDP, which is predicted to hit 2.7% in 2015. With further growth in the tech sector predicted in 2016, the UK has the opportunity to take advantage of this high-level of innovation to help drive the economy forward, writes Julian Kleiser, managing director information technology, FedEx Express.
Technology and innovation are important in all aspects of business, but knowing how to take advantage of the opportunities innovation brings is vital for company development. With that in mind, here are some of the current tech trends that could propel your business into the future:
The Internet of Things
‘The Internet of Things’ (IoT) connects devices and systems together via the internet so they can be used interactively and ‘intelligently’. In business the IoT and smart technology – the devices connected to the internet – enable users to interact more efficiently at each stage of a process. This facilitates increased monitoring, control and autonomy and, as a result, processes can be tweaked for ultimate operational efficiency. By 2020, approximately 25 billion objects will be linked together via the internet, with the potential to make everything from energy to logistics transparent and open to real-time optimisation, revealing its true impact on business transformation.
Big Data, big impact
Big Data is a term used to describe extremely large data sets, which can be analysed to reveal patterns and enables businesses to derive new and improved strategies, such as within the supply chain. The wealth of information that is generated provides real-time analytics helping businesses determine what’s likely to happen in the future so processes can be managed more efficiently. For example, it can help optimise the routes delivery vehicles take – even while they are on the road – and it can reveal patterns in human behaviour and interactions to help improve future customer experience.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
What was once sci-fi has become a reality, and it won’t be long until artificial intelligence enters everyday life. In the near future, AI in business will help to streamline operations making it especially valuable for businesses in more time-sensitive industries such as healthcare. So while driverless cars are currently being trialled, the next logical step of this will be driverless vehicles that function autonomously. Even manufacturing robots, which have been used for years, will become more and more useful and will move away from single processes to be able to do much more.
Smart-glasses that allow people to multi-task hands-free are already widely available to consumers, however we’re only just starting to understand the business benefits. The ability to have all the information you need to complete a task right before your eyes could transform how people work, significantly boosting productivity.
The internet has changed retail forever and one of the biggest reasons for this was that it allowed people to shop 24/7. High street retailers are now beginning to catch up by using technology to bypass the restrictive operating hours of a traditional bricks and mortar store. One such technology comes from a Cambridge-based tech firm called visualplanet, which makes the technology behind interactive shop windows. The visualplanet touchfoil allows almost any hard surface to be turned into a touchscreen meaning potential customers can review stock, place orders, or even just find out more information at any time, day or night.
Staying on top of the latest innovations can be an elusive task, but doing so can be the difference between standing still and moving forward. As new technologies become even more commonplace, it will be the early business adopters who are in the best position to take full advantage.