I’m sure there have been eighties sci-fi movies set in the year 2017. We are now living in the future. And whilst we may not be living on the moon and driving around in hover cars, there is a lot of exciting new technology out there that would have astounded and baffled people three decades ago. Many businesses have already been embracing these technologies – they make your company innovative and cool, certain to win over clients and scare competition. Here are some of those technologies that may be worth considering – they’re not all as far-fetched as you may think.
1982’s Blade Runner predicted video calling (although from a pay phone). Now it’s been used by everyone – particularly businesses. An old-fashioned phonecall can be good for days when you haven’t put your makeup on and don’t want to reveal your face. But for those times when you want the added communication gesturing, facial expressions and diagrams, video calling can make a call a lot more interpersonal and interactive.
Many companies use video calling to substitute meetings that would otherwise be expensive or time-consuming to arrange and travel to. You can have multiple people all on one video call, almost like a conference. You can give presentations and guided tours. You can also interview potential remote employees. With apps for Skype available on one’s phone and in-built video call features such as Facetime you can even do such video calls on the move.
VR (Virtual reality) is the latest digital frontier. It isn’t purely reserved for gamers with VR headsets – many business owners are exploring its use as a tool for luring in potential clients too. Real Estate companies have already started using drones and panoramic cameras to give people virtual tours of property. Hotel owners can give potential guest virtual tours of rooms.
Many companies are now also using it as a training simulator, where real-life training may be potentially dangerous or expensive. This includes military exercises, training for pilots and surgery simulations.
On a more inclusively practical level, virtual reality can be used to give 360 degree views of products as implemented by Ikea, as well as implementing VR games as a marketing tactic.
If your business doesn’t already use the Cloud, now is the time to make the transformation. The Cloud has pretty much solved the issue of storage. No longer do you have to slow down your computer with masses of files or shell out extra storage – you can keep all your files on a remote server.
Storing remotely also has other benefits including being accessible from multiple locations. You can access the same file as work on your PC and on the commute back on your smartphone. Multiple users can also access the same file at the same time allowing easy editing and sharing of information.
Many have been put off the idea of cloud technology in the fear that someone may hack or damage the server and that they have no physical ownership of it. However, Cloud servers are in fact incredibly secure – made practically unhackable due to encrypting and ‘sharding’ all the files. And whilst a thief may be to run away with a computer or a laptop, trying to manhandle a server is very unlikely.
Even if you prefer to physically own your files on a local server or on your computers, you can still use the Cloud as useful backup tool. Disaster recovery programmes allow you to easily block files locally and access files from the cloud in the event of a disaster such as a storm, fire, flood or ransomware attack. If the office is destroyed or the network is hacked, you can still keep business going. Such software was once affordable only by huge companies, but now all businesses can realistically invest in it. In this online-reliant world where continuity is key, disaster recovery software if lifesaving technology.
Smartphones allow business to exist outside the office. Apps have turned phones into multi-purpose objects practically capable of doing what a computer does. Accountancy software, personal organisers, HR tools and video calling software (as already discussed) can all be downloaded as apps and accessed on the go. There are also apps for niche business uses such as graphic design and translation tools. On top of this, there are apps that exploit the portability that smartphones offer unavailable on your PC, from digital signature software to spirit level apps for builders and decorators.
Even if you can’t find an app that suits your need, you can always create your own. This could involve a training app for new staff or a guide to various tool and processes. You can also create an app as marketing tool for clients. This could include a fun interactive game, a catalogue for all your products, a menu app that allows customers to order food or a digital loyalty card. There are several companies that specialise in app production, such as this site: wondermentapps.com
This decade has seen us all getting a lot more environmentally friendly, due to increased taxes on fossil fuels and harder legislation. Less people are scoffing at green technology and realising that it is not only more sustainable but affordable. Companies that go green are also treated with greater respect by the growing environmentally aware population.
Some companies have gone entirely paperless, whilst others have switched all their power sustainable sources. Some companies have installed solar panels, whilst others have adopted electric company cars.
If switching entirely to sustainable energy is too much of a leap, installing CFL and LED lights can be a much more energy efficient method than using regular bulbs as well as looking into greener appliances. When it comes to cleaning products, there are also many biologically friendly versions out there that don’t use the harmful chemicals and non-degradable containers that standard cleaning products do. An energy audit can be a great of finding out how much energy you use, so that you can invest in cleaner machinery and products.