Technology trends in business, including the use of artificial intelligence, are innovating the way people work and how consumers interact with brands. These advances provide companies with new tools to become more productive and efficient. While implementing new technology requires an investment of time, money or both, the results can be well worth the payout.
Read on to see which small business tech trends and enterprise-level innovations are being ushered in for 2024, and which mainstay technology seems to be sticking around for the long haul.
The Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence helps any size business make industry-specific tasks more efficient and streamline data mining to give the company a competitive advantage. Small business tech trends are showing a reliance on AI to help streamline workloads to a smaller workforce to continue operations during labor shortages. While automation has long been used in manufacturing operations, expect AI tools to expand to complete tasks well beyond a production floor, including:
- Billing automation
- Recruitment and hiring
- Customer support
- Inventory management
- Sales forecasting
- Market analysis
- Fraud detection
Gather Data Insights from Machine Learning and Generative AI
The most influential AI uses for 2024 will include machine learning and generative AI. Machine learning (ML) is a subset of AI that uses software systems to analyze data and discover patterns while generative AI takes that information to produce a result, which could be a list of recommendations, a prediction or forecast, written content, an infographic or an image. Businesses can use machine learning and generative AI to deploy more productive and user-friendly chatbots, provide insightful product recommendations, deploy data-based product pricing, create customer segments and calculate sales numbers.
Simplifying Tasks With IoT Devices
IoT (Internet of Things) devices are microcontroller-based systems, including security sensors, cameras and other technology that operate similarly to smart home devices. Process-driven tasks, like inspecting a roof or monitoring machine settings, are more efficient using connected IoT devices. This technology trend will include using drones in lieu of contractors to survey roof damage, relying on smart sensors to predict maintenance schedules, and monitoring inventory in real time using GPS-based tracking.
Embracing Reality-Shifting Technologies
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are not new technologies, but the uses for this equipment will expand in 2024. While both AR and VR are types of IoT devices, the shifted reality these two tools use to operate puts them in a different class. Businesses are using AR to superimpose items over an existing environment, like placing a virtual machine into a floor plan. VR creates a fictitious environment for a user to interact with, which is ideal for training scenarios, onboarding or letting a recruit tour a business office.
Implementing Consumer-Grade Tech in the Workplace
Businesses should expect a push away from legacy systems and tools because employees now want equipment with easy-to-use interfaces that mimic the streaming platforms and tablets they are used to. Management might resist giving up on corporate-issued equipment or software because of costly initial investments, but upgrading is often in the company’s best interest. Combining consumer-grade devices with enterprise-level network security improves employee satisfaction, makes onboarding more intuitive and still keeps sensitive data secure.
Investing in Platforms for Working From Anywhere
The post-pandemic era still sees employees telecommuting and videoconferencing, and remote workers have embraced a work-from-anywhere mentality that requires the right technology. The time limit on temporary workarounds has expired and now businesses need to upgrade their tools and support their employees—from wherever they work. Cloud applications, business wireless plans and the use of virtual private networks remain trending business tech.
Adopting Touchless Payment Systems
About half of all consumers have begun using some form of touchless payment and with advances in mobile and wearable software, this number is only expected to grow in 2024. Outdated point-of-sale systems that do not have touchless options will be left behind. Businesses writing off this technology trend as a fad should reconsider their stance in the upcoming year; joining the list of companies that offer touchless payment methods will make them more favorable for customers looking for convenience and security.
Renewed Focus on Cybersecurity
The most important technology trend for 2024 is improved cybersecurity tools because the advancement of AI has made data collection easier than ever, giving cybercriminals more to gain with every breach. While providing business-wide cybersecurity awareness training can improve employees’ diligence around password protections, device security and using Virtual Private Network connections, investing in IT solutions that provide robust cybersecurity technology and business-grade Wi-Fi is also a must.
Supporting the latest technology requires a strong, secure network connection and the right devices. Visit ftc.net/business to find internet plans with enterprise-level speeds and mobile phones running the latest software. Also, go to ftc.net/business/services/it-solutions to find out what you need to improve your cybersecurity.