While it’s important for businesses to be aware of evolving technologies, it is even more important for them to adapt.

By Michael Zhou

Failing to ride the current technology wave can cause businesses to lose their competitive edge. That, in turn, can mean a loss of business revenue or consumers. Furthermore, technology trends also add a critical layer of security for both a business and its clients.

With so many new types of technology on the market today, how do you know which ones are best for your company and are going to give you a competitive edge vs all hype? If you’re wondering what are the top emerging business technologies to help your business in the future, these six technology trends are essential:

  • Augmented reality
  • Internet of Things
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Chatbots
  • 5G
  • Blockchain

1. Augmented Reality

You’ve probably heard of virtual reality. But what about augmented reality? Are they the same thing? Augmented reality is an interactive experience of the real world that enhances images based on computer-generated information. Images are displayed in multiple modalities including auditory, visual, olfactory, and somatosensory.

AR development is critical to business growth for several reasons. Especially for small businesses, it provides the following benefits:

  • Improved shopping experiences
  • Urban exploration
  • More efficient safety operations
  • Entertainment

Luckily, AR appears in many forms to aid business. This includes mobile, projected, and even wearable AR to meet the unique and diverse needs of your employees working in various capacities.

Examples of popular AR apps and businesses using AR include:

  • Pokemon Go
  • Snapchat
  • IKEA Mobile App
  • L’Oreal Makeup App
  • Weather Channel Studio Effects

Virtual reality, or VR, is a total immersion experience that distinguishes the individual from the physical world. Whether your business uses AR or VR, augmented reality is here to stay. As of 2020, experts believe at least 100 million consumers will use some form of augmented reality for shopping.

2. The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things, or IOT, is another disruptive technology in the future of business. IOT plays many critical roles in business success. Research shows IOT provides companies with the data they need to improve their marketing outreach, boost sales, and lower ancillary expenses. By 2020, statistics show about 50 billion things will be connected in the world by IOT. Considering there are 7.7 billion people in the world as of 2019, that’s a lot!

Here are more key statistics to know about IOT:

  • 90% of vehicles will be connected to IOT by 2020
  • Over 64 billion business-related devices will use IOT by 2025
  • 127 devices connect to IOT every second

3. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, technologies are another disruptive tech that can transform how your company conducts business. AI combines natural language processing and machine learning to understand user behavior and patterns. This, in turn, enables AI to solve problems. Essentially, AI can digest and process more information (more rapidly) than humans.

Experts believe that by 2021, AI will automate and potentially eliminate 40 percent of jobs within 15 years. By adopting AI technology early on, a business can better adapt to the changing climate and make internal adjustments and harness the technology accordingly.

4. Chatbots

Chatbots link businesses with consumers via textual or auditory methods. They might appear as a smiling icon or image of a helpful representative on the screen when you click on them a chat box will appear. To the consumer, the friendly chatbot is a great way to get instant answers to questions or solve a problem. To businesses, the chatbot is equally as valuable as much of the common questions and initial customer interaction and qualification can be automated.

Chatbots can:

  • Respond to digital chats from your website, Facebook, Instagram, etc
  • Answer text messages
  • Conduct conversations in a human-like way
  • Link visitors to important information

And more! Essentially, chatbots learn through their interactions with humans, which means they are always evolving and learning which makes them very easy to interact with.

5. 5G

If you’ve ever complained about a slow network, 5G solves that problem. 5G is the fifth generation of cell network technology. It promises faster networking speeds than 4G, which is the current broadband network found in homes. For businesses, where consumers demand instant satisfaction, transitioning to 5G is imperative.

6. Blockchain

Blockchain is another new technology shaking up multiple industries that will continue to expand into different businesses in 2020. Blockchain is a decentralized transaction ledger that’s trustless, consensus-driven, secured by cryptography, and public.

The most well-known application for blockchain at this point is cryptocurrency (like bitcoin) but in 2020 you’ll see blockchain expand into other interesting business applications like:

  • Finance
  • Voting
  • Real Estate
  • Publication
  • Supply Chain Management

Any business that’s transaction-based, needs to be transparent with data, needs an untampered audit history, or is decentralized will benefit from the speed, security, and control of blockchain technology.

In 2020, these six technologies are a “must” for businesses looking to stay ahead of the competition, please consumers, and evolve. From providing a better consumer experience to improving data security and automation, they will play a crucial role in daily business functions in the near future.

Michael Zhou is a Senior VP of Business Intelligence Development and has assisted the Fortune 1000 company with expertise in the web as a whole, including ground-zero marketing efforts that benefit both consumer and vendor. He is also contributor on Esprittoday.

Technologies stock photo by spainter_vfxspainter_vfx/Shutterstock