By Konica Minolta 19 Jun 2013

Where is technology taking business?

Business has experienced a technological tipping point.

Technology is shaping business at an ever accelerating pace as employees, customers, suppliers and the general public have unprecedented access to ever-increasing amounts information.

The implications for businesses today are real and significant. Technology and innovation can help businesses uncover more opportunities and help them forge competitive advantage.

On the flip side, technological advancement poses new challenges and the need for businesses to adopt new skill-sets and strategies. We take a fresh look at the trends to watch and adopt, and the challenges that businesses face.

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Next generation technology trends

1. Mobility

Mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device worldwide by 2013, and over 80% of handsets sold in mature markets will be smart phones by 20151.

Tablets are propelling the productivity of workers and allowing them to be less bound by physical constraints. And while devices will continue to grow in popularity, the hardware itself will not be as important as the services it accesses. Manufacturers will focus more on software – the intuitiveness, the ease of sharing content software, the interface – to provide the best possible user experience. 

2. Cloud

The market for cloud based business process services will double in size to nearly $145 billion, between 2011 and 20161.

The hub for personal files, and access to services that facilitate communication, collaboration and media consumption, is shifting from the computer to the cloud. While cloud storage adoption and cloud related services is still in the infancy phase, the benefits will soon be realised; offering applications and data services that are portable, affordable and make information more accessible and available.

3. Apps

Mobile app store downloads will surpass 81.4 billion worldwide in 2013 (up from 45.6 billion in 2012), with free downloads accounting for 90% of the market1.

As application software (apps) have the ability offer valuable IT solutions that require little to no technical knowledge to use, they continue to build in popularity with people increasingly using them in place of internet browsers.

4. Strategic Big Data

Over 30 billion devices will be permanently connected, and another 150 billion intermittently, and contribute to a surge in data and real time analytics, by the end of the decade1.

Big data is both a big challenge and a big opportunity. There are volumes of customer, operational and market data available to businesses today, but the challenging part is knowing how to access it from the various repositories in which it is stored – such as silos, warehouses, and external systems - and using it to make critical decisions. 

5. Social Media

50% of large organisations will have an internal social network similar to Facebook by 2016, and 30% of these will be considered as essential as email and telephones are today1.

Social media is an auspicious vehicle for businesses to engage with internal and external stakeholders. In addition to actively contributing towards increasing an organisation’s brand equity, the use of social media is maturing into a viable channel for revenue exploration.

Social media has begun to become an essential component for coordinating crowdsourcing resources as it allows organisations to reach a wider audience faster, cheaper and more efficiently than ever before. 

6. Integrated Ecosystems

As technology evolves, vendors of hardware, software and services are aligning systems and applications. Vendors are creating more integrated systems in order to achieve more seamless, easier deployment, more functional devices and appliances, more secure connections between previously disparate systems, with the ability to exploit digital.

7. The Internet of Things (IoT)

“Over 50% of Internet connections are things[physical objects and devices]. In 2011, over 15 billion things on the Web, with 50 billion+ intermittent connections. By 2020, over 30 billion connected things, with over 200 billion with intermittent connections. Key technologies here include embedded sensors, image recognition and NFC. By 2015, in more than 70% of enterprises, a single exec will oversee all Internet connected things.”1.


1Source: Gartner
Image credit: Flickr, Sam Howzit

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