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5G – Referring to the fifth generation of mobile networks, 5G promises greater speed, reliability and increased capacity. It has the potential to aid an explosion in IoT (Internet of Things) smart devices, meaning everything from fridges to cars could soon be connected. While we don’t yet know what the full impact and benefit will be, the technology is revolutionary – and its rollout is officially underway.
Voice Search – Voice search has been described as ‘the next big thing’ in digital marketing and its potential is something all savvy businesses need to stay on top of, or they risk losing out to the competition. It’s expected that 50% of all searches will soon be conducted through voice. While voice tends to be used on mobile devices currently, digital assistants like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa are increasingly being integrated within all areas of work and home life.
Chatbots – We live in a world where customers (both B2C and BCB) increasingly expect an instant response and for companies to be accessible whenever they want them. It’s, therefore, no surprise that chatbots continue to grow in popularity and in 2020 it’s estimated that 80% of businesses will be using them. The technology itself continues to improve, with companies now having far more choice.
Hyperautomation – Most business will already be using some form of automation to help streamline their systems and improve efficiency – whether that’s with sales and marketing processes or their wider operations – and such tools are only going to improve. At the top end of the scale, hyperautomation will take things up to a whole new level, combining with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to produce increasingly more sophisticated and data-driven, real-time processes. Another step on the way to fully personalised customer journeys and experiences.
Mobile first payments – We all know that the rise of the smartphone – not to mention the importance Google places on mobile first for site ranking – requires modern websites to be designed and fully optimised for use on mobile devices. But taking this even further, we’re likely to see a drive for other user functions to become mobile first too, from offering the ability to make one-click online payments, to paying with the scan of a phone in bricks and mortar stores.
Empowered edge – As more and more smart devices come online, one thing we are likely to see is a growth in devolved processing. Basically, this means power will be moved closer to the user, rather than a centralised cloud server. The term ‘edge’ referring to the end device people are using. The result being that we all have a smoother, faster digital experience.
Collaboration tools – Tying closely to the growing culture for homeworking, freelancing and the so-called ‘gig economy’, small businesses will increasingly capitalise on the benefits of collaboration software. These digital tools can help teams stay connected, manage tasks and deadlines, share and record information, chart progress and communicate, no matter where their employees – or indeed their clients – may be in the world!
Industry-specific tech – Whatever industry your small business is working within, there will be industry-specific tools that can help you and in 2020 we’re likely to see even more new releases coming to market, solving problems and disrupting traditional ways of working. From insurtech to lawtech, martech, to healthtech, there are new innovations appearing all the time and the UK (particularly London) continues to be a hotbed for such creative start-ups.
Outsourced services – In 2020, we are also likely to see even more small businesses investing in outsourced services, such as IT and finance, as a cost-effective solution to improving efficiency and staying at the cutting edge of industry developments. For example, at Dragon we know firsthand that many small businesses are concerned about the growing cybersecurity threat and also about GDPR compliance (data protection rules). By outsourcing their IT, they can get specialist support, up to date knowledge and an efficient IT system that can evolve with the growing business.