For business leaders to stay on top of their respective markets, they need to develop agility. This quality can come from adopting new technologies. When business leaders pay attention to changes in technology, they can shape the market rather than simply react to changes in it.
Of course, not every new technology applies to all markets in the business world. However, applying new technologies in exciting, innovative ways can help companies stand out from the competition and gain loyal customer followings.
Some of the newest and most important technological trends that business leaders may want to adopt to strengthen their businesses include:
1. Artificial Intelligence
In the past few years, artificial intelligence (AI) has moved from the world of science fiction to reality, and its place in the business world will only continue to grow. Already, a number of companies have used AI to perform repetitive jobs, thereby freeing the workforce to focus on more creative roles.
Some have feared that AI will replace jobs. However, recent research has shown that for each four positions replaced by automation, a position in automation management is created. Today, AI, including natural language processing, is widely available. Additionally, AI is easily applied to the business world since expertise is not usually necessary to make full use of the technology.
Some commercial applications already available include digital personal assistants that translate speech in real time and analyze sentiment; machine learning that generates hyper-targeted ads or predicts credit card fraud; and vision systems for security or emotion detection.
2. Internet of Things
Already, the number of devices connected to the Internet has risen to more than 10 billion. This number is expected to increase five-fold in the next couple of years because of the Internet of Things (IoT). A number of different products utilize sensors and other technologies to make use of connectivity options.
In the business world, this could translate to more accurate asset tracking and fleet management, especially as the price of sensors continues to decrease. While many leaders are thinking about how IoT can improve operations through real-time tracking, opportunities for IoT also exist in offering products that use network connectivity to provide customized services.
The key to making this technology work is to ensure that it offers real value to consumers rather than providing frivolous information or unnecessary services. Business leaders who want to enter this space can forge partnerships with IoT providers to make the most of the technology.
3. Cyber Security
Leaders will find that cyber security is becoming more important to consumers, especially with the major breaches that took place at Equifax and Anthem. If these large organizations are at risk, consumers have to become more vigilant about whom they trust with their data.
Implementing solutions like multi-factor authentication and risk-based authentication, which works in the background to assess likelihood of attack, makes customers feel more at ease. These practices also help business leaders assure their own employees that the organization is secure.
Both AI and machine learning have been under development as a means of improving security by automating some of the more labor-intensive aspects of threat detection. Business leaders who demonstrate their concern in these areas generate a lot of trust with employees and clients alike.
One of the most exciting developments in technology that business leaders need to know about is cocreation. While not a technological development in itself, cocreation has been made possible by the increasing connectivity of the world.
The idea behind cocreation is that third-party experts, employees, or even customers provide their own suggestions, guidance, and insight to fuel innovation. In a sense, cocreation is like outsourcing innovation, but in a way that gets people more involved with the company and its products while potentially reducing costs.
An ultimate example of this sort of collaboration is the Linux operation system, which was developed online by a network of different professionals. Today, companies can make physical goods in a similar way.
Cocreation looks different across companies, and business leaders need to think about how it aligns with their corporate culture. For example, Google offers an internal market where employees submit ideas and their coworkers can adopt them or give them an upvote if they are particularly worth pursuing.
The term blockchain has generated an overwhelming amount of buzz in recent years. While many people use the term, they do not always know exactly what it is or what it can do for a business.
In reality, blockchain technology is still in its infancy. Its true potential for today’s business leaders has not yet been explored. However, that does not mean people and companies cannot begin benefiting from it today.
Blockchain facilitates the storage of digital information across a peer-reviewed network. In other words, it is a decentralized and immutable information storage solution that does not require any intermediate partner for oversight.
The technology facilitates governance automation and smart contracts, which are immediately and irrevocably executed once the preconditions are met. These capabilities will be broadly applicable to a wide variety of industries.