TMCnet Feature
June 22, 2020

Exploring 4 Tech Trends That Are Defining the Business World

How These 4 Tech Trends are Redefining the Business World in 2020

2020 will forever go down as one of the strangest, most disruptive years in world history – and particularly in United States history. From viruses and social unrest to elections and strange weather patterns, it’s hard to remember any year quite so tumultuous. But there’s also plenty of good happening – especially in the tech space.

4 Tech Trends Worth Watching

Many business owners, leaders, and executives have a warped view of technology – particularly evolving trends and new innovation. They essentially adopt a “need-to-know” approach in which they only take the time to study and understand new developments if they feel like they can directly benefit from them in the moment.

Educating yourself on the latest tech developments that pertain to your specific niche is a smart idea, but to do so at the exclusion of all other trends is unwise and unhelpful. It leaves you with an elementary understanding of the big picture and makes you prone to blind spots.

Blind spots lead to missed opportunities, which ultimately pave the way for obsolescence or irrelevance in the marketplace. It’s a costly progression, but one that can easily be prevented with a commitment to staying abreast of larger market trends.

There’s a lot of outside noise in 2020, but you can’t let that stop you from exploring some of the transformative tech trends that are forging pathways into the business marketplace and creating channels of opportunities for organizations that are willing to adapt, adopt, and evolve.

Here are some of the tech trends worth keeping an eye on:

1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence, or AI, gets talked about a lot. It’s sort of become a buzzword over the past few years. You’ll hear it in both tech circles and in the mainstream media. (Listen to TV commercials or study online display ads and you’ll hear/see the two-letter acronym plastered everywhere.) But don’t let oversaturated advertising cause you to tune out – AI is the real deal.

AI, which refers to computer systems that are built to mimic human intelligence and execute tasks like recognizing images, decision-making, and speech patterns, is faster and more precise than humans. This makes it attractive both in private life and in the business world.

At least 85 percent of Americans already use AI on a daily basis. The six most common examples are navigation apps, video or music streaming services, digital personal assistants (like Siri), ride-sharping apps, intelligent home personal assistants, and smart home devices.

For businesses, the AI movement is defined by the shift from manual processes to automation. And while everyone wants to talk about the potential job loss that will occur at the hands of automation, the reality is that most of these jobs are simply shifting. Millions of new jobs are being created in development, testing, support, programming, and maintenance.

2. Machine Learning

Underneath the heading of AI, you’ll find the machine learning subset. This technology is all about programming computers to learn how to do things they weren’t programmed to do. In other words, they’re programmed in such a way that they can learn and get smarter over time.

The machine learning market is expected to balloon to a whopping $8.81 billion by 2022. Much of this growth will be driven by applications that focus on data mining, data analytics, pattern recognition, network intrusion detection, and real-time advertising.

3. Online Business Marketplaces

Innovation and enterprise go hand in hand. The growth of the internet, as well as advances in technologies that automate and streamline key processes, has paved the way for new possibilities and opportunities.

One exciting trend that we’re seeing is the ability to leverage online business marketplaces to buy and sell businesses. Whether it’s a physical products brand with an ecommerce site or a service business, it’s become easier to reach potential buyers via online marketplaces.

KR Capital, for example, specializes in helping FedEx route owners sell their businesses. This method of starting the buying or selling process online would have been unthinkable just 20 years ago. Now, it’s a staple of the business world. 

4. Virtual Conferencing Solutions

The COVID-19 crisis has wreaked havoc on most industries. However, there are a few niches that have experienced exponential growth during this time. Virtual meeting software companies certainly qualify as members of the “good fortune club.”

Less than a year ago, virtual meetings were seen as a fallback. They were convenient, but not necessary. Interesting, but not practical. Now it’s hard to imagine doing business without a tool like Zoom.

Is this current pandemic season a blip on the radar, or are we about to see a massive migration toward remote working? Only time will tell – though most seem to believe the latter is true.

The Acceleration of Technological Innovation

From 1790 to 1800 – the first decade in which the U.S. Patent Office was open, 229 patents were issued. That’s the same number of patents that are granted every 7.2 hours today.

Innovation is accelerating at a dizzying pace. And the rate at which new technology is developed and released into the marketplace is increasing exponentially.

Consider this: It took millions of years for computers to be invented. Then it took just a couple of decades for personal computers to enter the home. Then within a matter of a few years, the first handheld smartphone was released. Now it seems like a new smartphone with twice the features and processing power – slimmer yet stronger – is released every few months.

This evolution is the result of compounding ideas and discoveries. But it’s also pushed forward by the fact that technological capabilities are also compounding. In other words, with each new development in computer hardware or software, it becomes easier to streamline the creation of the next one.

“The first computers were designed on paper and assembled by hand,” author Ray Kurzweil mentions. “Today, they are designed on computer workstations with the computers themselves working out many details of the next generation’s design, and are then produced in fully automated factories with only limited human intervention.”

There’s no slowing the rapid acceleration of technology. Once the momentum exists, there’s nothing to stop it. For business professionals, this is both an opportunity and a challenge. It requires a constant commitment to education to keep up and stay relevant. But if you’re willing to put in the work, this innovation can be leveraged to your advantage.

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