Technology has already transformed business as we know it and changed it beyond recognition in many cases and many industries. Perhaps the biggest and most obvious changes is the way that the web has impacted on the way we work. Whereas once we would have had to meet in person to do business with outside clients and business partners, we can now manage the vast majority of our organisation through e-mail and video conferencing. Whereas once advertising meant expensive deals with newspapers and television, it can now mean spending a few dollars on PayPerClick or managing a social media campaign.
But if you think business is different now then you really need to look out for what’s going to be changing in future. Technology isn’t showing any sign of slowing down, and in no time at all we’re going to be working in an entirely different way.
Read on to see which technologies are likely to have the biggest impact on your business in the next few decades…
The cloud has already changed business in a big way, and has enabled us to backup our information online and to work collaboratively with colleagues on projects even when we’re on other sides of the country.
But the cloud is going to become more and more pervasive going forward, and in particularly it’s going to change business through ‘cloud computing’. What cloud computing essentially means is that you actually outsource the power of your computer to other devices via the web. So in short, you’ll be able to use your device as a screen and input method, while you’ll actually be controlling a much more powerful machine across an internet connection. This means that gadgets will get much smaller, lighter and less expensive as they essentially just act as a ‘window’ to remote systems.
3D printing has also been around for a while now, but it’s only now that it’s starting to become more viable an option for small businesses and even individuals as printers become more affordable and more accessible all the time. If you sell any kind of product in your business currently then the days of buying wholesale and selling at a profit may be over – instead you’ll be able to ‘print off’ items for a much cheaper cost and even make changes on the fly. This could also save you some big manufacturing expenses.
For now of course 3D printing only really applies to the creation of small ornaments and other objects that only require one or two ‘parts’. In the future though, it could well work for far more complex creations and even electronic devices. If you can design a smartphone, then you will be able to print one out and sell it!
Video conferencing is a big deal for companies and can save you a huge amount of money. In the future though this is likely to become rather outdated as we start using virtual reality instead. Imagine being able to put on a headset and then feel as though you’re sitting in a boardroom talking to other avatars. Thanks to technologies like the Oculus Rift this may well soon be possible. In fact you might even see a world where you no longer have to ‘physically’ go into an office at all – you could just slip on your headset and work at a virtual PC. Sounds like science fiction, but it’s actually probably not all that far away…
Tablets have recently changed business in a big way as they start to replace PCs for many tasks and even points of sale. In the future though they’ll probably continue to get much smaller and light as well as more powerful, and it may be that all our devices become touch-based and run on ARM chips. The gap between PC and tablet is closing fast, and it will be very interesting indeed to see what the hybrid form factor that emerges will be.