The best advice anyone in business can follow is to be prepared. While contingency plans are useful for all manner of issue, the kind of preparedness necessary doesn’t just mean to mitigate against impending disaster.
Many businesses have failed to capitalize on upcoming opportunities by not being prepared to see how they will impact the industry, how they could be incorporated, or simply how legitimate they are. Preparing for future opportunities is crucial for any business, especially those considered to be strong brands. So, here are future opportunities that all businesses should consider.
Studies indicate that around 83% of Americans already use some kind of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Whether this is a Google Home, an Alexa, Siri, or even the streaming services that use machine learning (a division of AI) to give you suggestions based on what you have already engaged with – AI is everywhere. The automation that AI represents is a way to streamline processes and save time and money. Many businesses – from factories to supply chains – could incorporate some elements of AI.
Seattle’s Amazon Go store uses AI to streamline the shopping experience, while Disney has used the upvotes function of Quora to teach machines to tell what makes a good story. General Motors, among other car manufacturers, is investing heavily in automated driving. There are, of course, the limitations that many suggest AI will ‘steal our jobs’. Data scientists are quick to point out that the jobs will free people up to learn new skills and develop the next wave of AI.
Blockchain technology has been quietly making itself known. While many immediately think of cryptocurrency, blockchain has been used already for the security of its ledger. The blocks can only be added to, so they make a sensible and watertight security solution, especially when it comes to making payments. Indeed, the bank Santander has already begun utilizing Ripple (a form of cryptocurrency) to make payments from the USA to Latin America. The nature of the technology means it is faster and safer than traditional forms of payment.
Blockchain as a ‘value-add’ for a business, is expected to be worth around $176 billion. So, businesses should consider how they could apply blockchain technology to existing processes. Many companies are already harnessing blockchain for their supply chain management – including Subway, Ford, Walmart, Unilever, and Nestle. Part of the blockchain opportunity does come from what might happen with cryptocurrency.
Indeed, as blockchain becomes adopted, cryptocurrency will also see a rise as people want to get involved with the new technology. There will be more ways to get into Bitcoin trading for beginners as the asset will grow in value when it is adopted by companies which help legitimize it. The validation of blockchain will improve the investment opportunities of the industry and lead to it becoming more widespread.
Internet of Things
There are many who are still unsure about what the Internet of Things (IoT) can do, without realizing that they are benefitting from the technology already. From smart home hubs that allow us to control heating and lighting out of the house to the Fitbits and other wearable technology that monitors our body activity or sleep cycles – we are surrounded by the IoT. Indeed, tech company Cisco launched a network for companies to embrace IoT in 2019, which helped show how they could scale their IoT uses.
The best opportunity for the IoT is how it can be incorporated into a product or service to help make people’s lives easier. On an internal level, IoT can help understand complex business processes and find where things can be made more efficient. This could be in a way of improving safety features on the factory floor or eliminate superfluous and unnecessary procedures. The IoT is multi-faceted. It can improve the products and lives of a brand’s consumers or it could improve the inner machinations of the brand itself. Both will make the brand more successful and profitable in the long run.
Tech trends can be dicey. Some may take off as expected, others may flop for no discernible reason. But it’s imperative that a brand considers what these technological advances may be and is primed to take advantage of them if possible. Not every technological advancement will work for every brand, but not realizing the potential and letting it glide past to benefit a competitor would be a dangerous thing to let happen.