Tech Trends Businesses Need To Keep An Eye On

Tech Trends Businesses Need To Keep An Eye On
One hundred and fifty years ago, if you couldn't buy or make something locally, you could order it from the Montgomery Ward catalog. The company is credited with creating the first mail-order catalog for the general public which changed the way the retail industry worked. The first catalog went out in 1872. By 1904, they had more than 3 million people on their mailing list. We've come a long way since then and business has changed to the point that it would be unrecognizable for anyone from the 19th century, and technology is continuing to shape the way we do business. Here are some of the tech trends that business owners can't afford to ignore for 2020 and beyond.

Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence has earned a shocking negative reputation thanks to popular media framing it as the tool that will eventually end all of humanity, but it is quickly becoming one of the most invaluable resources for businesses heading into 2020 and beyond. The problem right now is that most companies that are adopting AI are only doing it for a specific purpose instead of utilizing the width and breadth of its capabilities. You'll see companies that are using AI and machine learning for prediction forecasts but aren't using it to analyze the massive amounts of data that the company generates on a daily basis.

AI is quickly becoming one of the most vital parts of the modern business world, but it may be some time before we see businesses making the most of its capabilities. These tech tools aren't going anywhere, so it's one trend that current business owners can't afford to ignore.

3D Printing

One thought the sole purview of hobbyists and crafty individuals, 3D printing is quickly making itself indispensable in nearly every industry in the world. Now you'll find these devices everywhere from an automotive manufacturing plant to the International Space Station and they aren't just for printing figurines anymore. 3D printing allows business owners to try out or customize new designs without revamping their entire production facility while saving time and reducing overall costs.

In 2017, only 0.01% of the manufacturing industry utilized 3D printing, but the industry is expected to explode in the next few years. The market for 3D printing technologies is expected to be worth more than $30 billion by 2022. Business owners should be looking for ways that they can start incorporating 3D printing into their production lines before the industry takes off and the technology becomes more expensive.

The Internet Of Things

3D printing isn't the only tech trend that's expected to explode in the next few years. The Internet of Things or IoT made up of networked devices that are capable of both sending and receiving information, is growing exponentially. Experts are forecasting that there will be more than 20.4 billion connected devices by 2020. By 2026, the IoT market will be worth more than $3 trillion a year, dwarfing many of it's nearest competitors.

Now is the time to ensure that your business is ready for IoT if you haven't started adopting the technology already. Ensure that you've got reliable connectivity and the ability to control data usage within your facility. Pay close attention to network security for IoT devices as well. Unchanged default passwords on commercial IoT devices allowed hackers to turn thousands of these devices into a botnet to power the massive DDoS attack that took down most of the internet in 2017.

Information Enlightenment

As 2019 comes to a close and we move into 2020, businesses will enter what experts are calling an age of information enlightenment. Companies will spend a lot of money to create an information ecosystem that enables them to take control of the data that their company is generating. These businesses are just beginning to understand the concepts of data gravity and data decay, learning that collecting data is all but useless if you don't have the infrastructure to do something with it — and that unlike in the past, the information you're collecting has a shelf life.

This age of information enlightenment is just beginning, but it will continue to shape the business world for years to come. Don't go into 2020 expecting to understand the data landscape, because it is changing rapidly and in ways that even industry experts are hesitant to try and predict.

Looking Toward The Future

The business landscape is changing, and technology will play a massive role in this epic reshaping. This isn't a gentle wave that business owners will be able to ride to a changing shore. This is a digital tsunami that will wipe out all but the most prepared in its path. Invest in the future of your company by learning to navigate this new and exciting business environment before the digital future leaves you and your company behind.
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