There are some technologies that change business so significantly that it's hard to remember what came before. That’s true of innovations like ATMs, the web, mobile devices, and ridesharing. You can probably come up with a few more if you think about it. The point is that one or more of the technologies below are likely to expand that list and reset our ideas
One or more of these innovations are likely to rewrite the rules of business and there’s still time to be an important be part of that change.
Small Business Takes the Lead
Overwhelmingly, small business is the driver of innovation and growth in America. That's the conclusion of Goldman Sachs 2016 State of Small Business in America report, which explores the characteristics of high growth businesses and the unique challenges they face.
Despite these challenges, and the difficult economic landscape businesses face, the development of new technology is as likely to come from a small company as it is a larger corporation.
These are the Transformational Technologies identified by the Création de Sites Internet Formation et Conseil Informatique (IPFC Online). This web agency compiles and analyzes emerging tech trends related to digital transformations.
Tech emerging today will shape tomorrow's small business technology trends, and those with the creativity to imagine how and the will to create it will be the next generation of winners.
On the infographic below, they listed dozens of tech trends in various stages of development that are most likely to have an enormous impact on global business through 2020.
Honing in on just the emerging technologies with the highest potentiall impact, there are eight innovations that small businesses need to know about now.
High-impact and Transformational Small Business Technology Trends
Here is some advice on how SMBs can ride on one (or more) of these waves to propel their business into rapid growth for the foreseeable future.
- Smart Machines – At the Quickbooks Connect conference last fall, Intuit’s Dan Wernikoff, SVP and GM of Small Business Finance, said that that 60% of small business aren’t finding the financing they want. Intuit has dedicated its new smart machines and analytical engines to offer financial advice, support SMB’s making better decisions and helping them find what they need to grow.
- Advanced Robotics – This November 15-16, Robotics.org is sponsoring the Collaborative Robots and Advanced Vision conference, made for startups, venture capitalists and inventors in all industries. It brings together practical applications of robotics with the people that can make them happen. Robotics will shape every aspect of human life in the coming years, and small business technology trends that anticipate this change will have lasting impact rather than just a moment of hype.
- Brain-Computer Interface – Elon Musk, raised some eyebrows and rolled quite a few eyes with his introduction of “Neural Lace,” meshing human brains with micro-processors. Don’t bet against him. With a net worth of $15.6 billion and companies like PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla behind him, neural lace could replace the keyboard in your lifetime. The meeting of mind and machine will result in new applications in marketing, medicine and learning that will radically reshape how we interface with information, ideas, and institutions.
- Quantum Computers – The number one use for quantum computers would be security that’s impossible to crack, even in theory. A tiny startup could beat Google to the market. Small businesses could then rent time on this monster processor to solve the world’s toughest problems.
- Memristors – Closely related to quantum computers, this tech breakthrough replaces silicon transistors with exotic materials that remember data. They retain data even when their no electricity and they use infinite states instead of binary. Blazing fast speeds at lower energy will be their legacy. Small businesses could level the compute and storage playing field, democratizing data storage in the same way the internet democratized information.
- 5G – Unlike some of the others on this list, this tech is on the market in 11 cities, even though 5G specs aren’t standardized yet. 5G wireless will handle 100s of devices at 1,000X the data volume of 4G. Smaller businesses need 5G to deliver on the promise of being more agile and flexible with their data than aging, lumbering enterprises.
- Biocomputers – With a bankroll of €6.1 million from the EU’s Future & Emerging Technologies (FET) program, the startup Bio4Comp has already built a biocomputer, but haven’t found a way to scale up production yet. It consists of nanomotors built from DNA that can self-assemble to grow to any size and don’t need an external energy supply.
- Swarm computing – Just as individuals can act like a collective unit when birds flock and fish school, now computers can swarm. This is one of the underlying technologies fueling Bitcoin. "Smaller is better" when groups of computers coordinate their processing. Crowd-sourced computing has the ability to completely transform financial markets and information industries.
As the digital world increasingly augments and merges with business on the ground, SMB's are in a good position to deploy emerging technology trends in ways that have meaning and value for users. Insights about consumer pain points and community needs can converge with the latest technology to provide real world solutions that can transform lives and markets.
Businesses that lay the ground now for automation, data applications riding on 5G, and mininturalization can create new efficiencies and carve out a healthy share of emerging markets here and abroad. Small business technology trends have reshaped the larger business culture again and again.
The greatest breakthroughs have come from the meeting ground of people and tech, where small groups of people are motivated by a simple idea or problem. Faster, smaller and more elegant tech will emerge from these advances, transforming culture and society in ways yet to be imagined by the next generation of business leaders.