The link between technology adoption and business success has a long history of powerful impact. More recently — since the onset of the pandemic — businesses have more readily adopted web conferencing solutions such as Zoom, and had to rethink how it was used to ensure productivity, communication and collaboration. As consumers and end-users, all the attention was on virtual backgrounds and turning their microphones and cameras off at the right time, but for businesses, features like breakout rooms changed how employee training is conducted and how meetings with clients could be more dynamic and engaging.
This, however, is just the tip of the iceberg of how technology can help businesses adapt and grow. There are emerging technologies with the potential for transformative impact on every business level, from operational efficiency, empowering employees, customer engagement, and driving growth. What’s evident is that failure to explore and implement innovative ways to leverage technology will create gaps — and put you at a competitive disadvantage over those businesses that embrace digital strategies.
Businesses of Any Size in Any Industry Can Benefit
Any size company has the opportunity to leverage emerging technologies, and we see the pervasive impact of just that all around us.
- Retailers big and small utilize omnichannel strategies, integrating the online and offline shopping experience for consumers with the cloud. Using technology to improve personalization has become an increasing trend, from grocery store apps that track purchases to algorithms on clothing sites that show you styles they’ve seen you admire. Behind the scenes, the pandemic also spurred some businesses to increase their plans for digitizing their supply chains to keep pace with market demands and improve automation.
- Consulting firms that were used to being in the same office are adopting cloud-based networking and security solutions that enable businesses to feel confident about using communications, collaboration, and file-sharing tools securely from anywhere in the world.
- Automobile manufacturers use the Internet of Things (IoT) to create new levels of personalization today and collect data-driven insights for future designs of tomorrow — improving safety and offering new perks for loyal customers, such as the ability to import chair and mirror settings to new car purchases.
Five Emerging Technologies to Explore
IoT - It’s clear that data is the new gold for businesses. The ability to generate the data offers clues on improving operational efficiency, customer engagement, supply chain, manufacturing, and more. IoT is a way for businesses to collect contextual data to make informed business decisions.
5G - Speed, range, and cost are key factors for connectivity options that businesses can adopt. With 5G having the potential to be one hundred times faster than 4G while offering lower latency and more bandwidth, potential use cases are limitless. This is an attractive consideration for extending and expanding edge computing use cases, including IoT. By the end of 2022, research firm Omdia forecasts 1.3 billion connections, which will nearly triple to 3.8 billion connections by 2025.
Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) - According to the Harvard Business Review, AI adoption skyrocketed over the last several years, with many companies accelerating adoption during the pandemic. Whether IoT devices or other system logs generate the data, businesses need fast, reliable analytics to make informed business decisions. AI and ML can provide recommendations based on their sophisticated ability to recognize patterns. Over time, with larger data sets, AI/ML can become more predictive, too. In addition, AI/ML presents the opportunity to simplify and automate many tasks to help drive operational efficiency, including IT tasks and inventory management.
Cloud - The scale and flexibility of the cloud makes it attractive for any sized business for a wide variety of use cases. One of these use cases is as a platform to easily connect, ingest and manage data from dispersed users, applications, and devices, including IoT. However, there are some key requirements to use the cloud effectively. It’s important to ensure it creates a frictionless experience for end-users. Part of this experience depends on secure access using capabilities such as policy enforcement, intrusion prevention, and encryption. Modern requirements have driven companies to leverage identity and contextual clues to continuously validate users before connecting them and giving them access to the tools to do their job, which many in the industry refer to as a Zero Trust framework. Even as quarantine rules have loosened, tightened, and loosened again, organizations have had to grapple with providing secure, sustained access to resources.
Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality - Providing demos and experiences without face-to-face interaction became a major challenge during the pandemic. Trade shows and industry conferences have gone virtual, storefronts have been closed due to pandemic restrictions leading to more online experiences, and supply chain disruptions have forced businesses to rethink how and what to sell. Virtual reality and augmented reality have helped change this with innovative demos, presentations, and experiences to help businesses better engage customers and clients. The potential here is significant, and companies that embrace VR and AR creatively will benefit from creating new ways for customers to connect with products they are thinking of buying. In fact, a survey by Grid Raster found that 56% of businesses have implemented VR/AR, and another 35% are considering doing so.
Enabling Current and Future Success with Innovation
Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean only using cutting-edge technology. Web conferencing solutions have been around for decades, but businesses have found innovative ways to leverage them for business success. Emerging technologies are tied to a broader shift toward digital transformation. With connectivity options becoming cheaper, digital strategies maturing, and the cloud becoming increasingly necessary, there are lots of opportunities to take advantage. As your business grows and customer needs evolve, this approach will allow you to quickly seize the opportunities to reduce costs, improve productivity, and respond to market demands.
However, to do this correctly, the ability to provide secure access for users, applications, and devices is paramount. Learn how OpenVPN Cloud can help you do just that.