Small businesses often take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to adopting technology. As a business owner, you may want proof that a new tool or trend will gain traction before investing your time and money on it.

 

And while being an early adopter can give your business a significant competitive edge, there are so many emerging technologies “getting buzz” these days, it also makes sense to prioritize and look for those that will pay off for your business in the long term.

 

As we look ahead to 2020, certain technology trends only seem bound to take off—or to keep gaining traction. Here are five small business tech trends worth paying attention to:

 

  1. Increased telecommuting and remote teams

 

One recent survey found that by 2028, 73% of all teams will have remote workers and a study by IWG predicted that half of all workers would be remote by 2020. As more people work from home or other remote locales like co-working spaces, small companies will be investing in technologies that make remote work more efficient, productive and fulfilling—such as video conferencing solutions, collaboration tools and cloud-based applications that make files and data easy to access from anywhere.

 

  1. Automating tasks with APIs

 

Application programming interfaces (APIs), in simple terms, allow two or more of the programs you use to communicate with each other. Software platforms may have built-in API connectors. For example, your email marketing platform might allow you to connect it to your content management platform—automatically transferring information between the two. But more platforms like Zapier are now available that let you connect thousands of apps together even if those platforms don’t offer built-in connectors. This lets you work faster and more seamlessly.

 

  1. Faster internet bolstering productivity and agility

 

From gig-speed internet to 5G wireless network availability, businesses are able to operate more quickly and efficiently than ever before. This will have an enormous effect on business productivity, agility and innovation. Consider how downloading files, applications and video in lightning speed could impact your business.

 

  1. Embracing voice-controlled assistants for business

 

As more people adopt voice-controlled smart speakers such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home in their personal lives, it’s only a matter of time before they reap the benefits in their professional lives. There’s an emerging array of voice assistants designed for businesses, and you can use such devices to handle a wide variety of administrative tasks, from managing your schedule and tasks to ordering supplies. Likewise, more businesses are looking to roll out speech-recognition technologies for customers in coming years and optimize their websites for voice search.

 

  1. Utilizing AI and machine learning apps for basic tasks

 

While artificial intelligence (AI) has been a futuristic buzzword in the business world for many years, it’s finally starting to have real-world implications for businesses both small and large. A McKinsey report predicted that AI would have the biggest impact in the near future on supply chain management and marketing and sales. A growing number of small businesses have been leveraging AI through third-party AI apps—such as by putting an AI-driven chatbot on their website or using AI-driven marketing tools.

 

As you plan for 2020, consider which technologies can make your business more efficient, more agile, more responsive to customers—and overall stronger.

 

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