Numerous technological advancements have made it easier to level the playing field between small companies and massive corporations. Constant innovations regarding cloud-based solutions, as well as the increase in market-share competition, have resulted in the creation of affordable technological tools small businesses can use and go head-to-head with their competition for a piece of the global market. That being said, let’s go over some of the most influential tech trends every small business should look out for in 2017.
Big data continues to be essential for marketing
The term “big data” exploded in 2015 and to find a tech article that didn’t contain it was virtually impossible. We’ve seen the same trend continue in 2016 and it’s still going strong in 2017. This comes as no surprise, as more and more companies realize that they are sitting on a gold mine of user data and the only thing they need is the right tool to sift through it all.
This data provides information that companies can use to explore new marketplaces, tweak their products and services or change the target audience completely in order to increase traffic and lead conversion. Considering sheer practicality of big data, it’s safe to say that we’ll see more tools being developed for analyzing large sets of data.
Mobile-first approach shows no signs of stopping
Since Google announced that more than half of all global search queries are now coming from mobile devices, it didn’t take long for this tech giant to start experimenting with mobile-first indexing. This refers to the practice of indexing the mobile versions of content first and ranking websites according to said mobile content, even if the search query is coming from a desktop computer.
The result was sheer SEO chaos as companies rushed to create and optimize their mobile websites so that they don’t fall behind the competition. Although mobile-first indexing is still months away from being fully incorporated into the search algorithm, it is still being used as a de-facto ranking factor and as such can only become more relevant in the following years.
Working anywhere, anytime using any device
Work is no longer regarded as a place you have to go to, but rather something you do regardless of your physical location. Millennials have embraced this concept and taken it even further, with more and more of them choosing a life of digital nomadism instead of sitting behind a desk on a 9 to 5 job.
Device flexibility, job mobility and freedom to interact with various social media platforms are becoming priorities for young freelancers and entrepreneurs when applying for a new job position. Working from places such as airports, coffee shops and hotels as well as using devices which are easy-to-use and familiar offers a unique type of laidback flexibility which can be achieved without actually sacrificing productivity.
A lot more video content
Although companies have been utilizing video content in their marketing and training strategies for quite some time now, they’ve also started to integrate it into their core communication systems. We’ll surely witness an increase of video content inside the workplace, for applications such as service-type how-to-videos or remote assistance and diagnostics in field tech. As the amount of video content and its average file size increase, so does the need for ways to search through all that content, optimize streaming depending on the device being used to view it, as well as analyze the vast sea of accompanying user-data.
Automation and the use of smart machines
Automation and smart machines are slowly but surely shaping the way we interact with technology on a daily basis. Traditional robots are already being used to carry out dangerous, precise and repetitive tasks. However, we’re thinking more of the AIs who use progressively sophisticated language to verbally communicate with us using our smart devices. Unlike common menu-based, voice-activated systems we’re used to, AIs process what we say, learn from it and adapt to various situations, with some more advanced examples even being able to detect our emotional states and act accordingly.
This kind of ability is surely going to have a profound impact on the workforce, as it can be used to scale capacity, help desk calls, handle customers’ needs during after-hours and even supplement outsourced positions. Also, AIs can potentially be used to monitor employee behavior.
Adoption of identity-oriented mobile technology
Another aspect that will suffer a significant transformation is the way we use our trusted identities with various smart objects, such as mobile devices, smart cards and wearables. Some experts argue that all our security tech will be replaced with a single smart device which will later be used to confirm our identity when used with a HID reader or number-lock. This is particularly useful for industries which are heavily focused on regulatory compliance such as the government, healthcare and finance markets. This transformation will usher the move away from legacy systems and use low energy, Bluetooth, NFC and smart device technologies to meet the needs of governments and enterprises worldwide.
These are just some of the most interesting trends to look out for in 2017. We haven’t mentioned VR, which is predominantly being used in the gaming industry at the moment or driverless cars, as their technology is still being developed to be considered a full-blown trend. Not to mention various virtual currencies which are being developed and talked about on every tech conference during the last two or three years, but these are not very likely to overcome Bitcoin and make a significant impact anytime soon. The only real trend that isn’t covered here is the advancements being made in the user-experience department. However, these can be considered as more of a refinement of previous SEO techniques than a real trend.