Businesswoman in shop on computer

Invest in this tech: 2019 guide for small businesses

If you want your business to maximize its potential, you need to stay ahead of new technology trends. To stay ahead, you need to know the current tech landscape and where it’s going.

Here are six trends you need to invest in for 2019:

1. Serverless computing

Cloud computing is nothing new but it is more important than ever. The technology is evolving rapidly, and there are now multiple ways you can take your business into the cloud.

Serverless computing is one of the big emerging trends when it comes to cloud technology. With function-as-a-service (FaaS), you specify your problem to the cloud services provider and they will take care of the rest.

This means you no longer have to spend time, money or resources worrying about the operating systems, hardware, or networks required to provide the function — just the outcome.

Invest in this tech – AWS Lambda:

Amazon’s offering allows you to run code for pretty much any of your applications. It offers excellent scalability — and benefits from Amazon Web Service’s high availability.

2. Internet of Things (IoT)

If you want to future-proof your IT strategy, it’s time to get on board with the Internet of Things (IoT). The market for this emerging technology is expected to reach $3 trillion by 2026.

IoT connects WiFi-enabled devices to one another so they can exchange data directly. This provides countless opportunities for increased efficiency, accuracy and even better customer service.

Invest in this tech – smart locks:

Manage the security of your buildings directly from your smartphone. You can track whomever enters and exits your buildings and reduce the security risks associated with physical keys or access cards.

3. Blockchain

Blockchain has been around for a while, though it has not yet been widely used outside the cryptocurrency industry. Until now.

The reason it’s a popular security choice for cryptocurrencies is that it is incredibly secure.

Blockchain is data from which you cannot take away — only add — making a “chain”. This increases security compared to many other methods, as nobody can change previous data blocks.

If your business handles sensitive data, blockchain is a great way to ensure maximum protection.

Invest in this tech – Storj:

Storj is a cloud storage solution using blockchain to provide unrivaled data security.

4. Virtual reality (VR)

It’s predicted the virtual reality (VR) market will grow from $27 billion to $209.2 billion in just four years.

Its use has mostly been confined to the gaming industry — but that’s all about to change.

VR can benefit your business in many ways, including:

  • Staff training
  • Making improvements to your retail spaces
  • Data visualization

It also has many industry-specific applications. For example, businesses in the construction industry can use VR to walk clients through their designs.

Invest in this tech – Oculus Go VR Headset:

This all-in-one headset is ideal for companies just starting out with VR. It’s portable and easy to us. And, best of all, it won’t break the budget.

5. Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI is transforming the way we do business.

One of the key aspects of AI that can benefit your business is machine learning.

In short, your technology can learn from patterns in your datasets. This means it can accurately make complex decisions with little human interaction.

It’s likely you’ve already seen this in action. For example, Amazon Prime and Netflix both make recommendations to subscribers based on their viewing patterns.

In a business setting, machine learning can improve efficiency and accuracy. As it requires little human intervention, the likelihood of error is dramatically reduced.

AI also has important applications in the world of security. For instance, it’s used to identify and tackle fraud, detect malicious attacks and automate security tasks.

Invest in this tech – IBM Watson Machine Learning:

IBM is making AI more accessible with this software, designed to integrate with Watson Studio. Create your own machine learning platforms to help with repetitive tasks.

6. Chatbots

If you want to improve customer service in 2019, chatbots are the way forward.

You can use them to automate a live chat facility on your website, providing answers to the most common issues your customers face.

This doesn’t eliminate the need for a customer service function. Complex queries should still involve a live customer service representative. But it can provide a fast and efficient response in many cases — as well as reducing your staffing costs.

Invest in this tech – Flow XO:

Flow XO can help you build a chatbot with no coding experience. Unlike many other chatbot platforms, you’re not just restricted to Facebook messenger.

Whichever technology you decide to adopt in 2019, one thing is certain:

If you want to get ahead of your competitors — and stand out in a crowded marketplace — there are many emerging technologies that can help take your business to the next level.