Technology will continue to rock the foundations of businesses

There are some moments that take our breath away. This happens with technology too. My Mum talks about her amazement when she first saw a colour TV or when she used a microwave for the first time. My daughter was lucky enough to travel to California recently and came back with stories of driverless cars. For me, I was wowed by technology when I put on a virtual reality headset and all of a sudden I was sitting in a rollercoaster, hurtling down a stomach-churning ride. A sensory-explosive experience and a moment when technology literally took my breath away.

We all agree that technological advancement has gone through the roof in the past decade and I’m sure it will continue to rock the very foundations of how we socialise, do business and live, year after year. Many predict a future where Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics impact what we do and technology is further seamlessly embedded in our society.

But what about today, what technology changes are happening right now that businesses in Canterbury can look into? Here are my thoughts:

Live broadcasting: Live video broadcasting through products like Meerkat, Snapchat and Periscope aren’t new. But when Facebook introduced Facebook Live all of a sudden it became a lot easier to engage with your Facebook followers or the daily one billion active Facebook users. Now, any business can easily broadcast live. Consider what you can do – behind the scenes tours for customers, meet the staff, show production in action, or product reviews straight from the Facebook feed. It’s a great way to increase engagement and promote your business.

Social selling: Increasingly we are seeing more pressure on the retail sector and a new way to attract customers is through social selling. This is when you use social media to share information, insights, or advice that’s relevant to your audience. Freely sharing information helps to grow trust in your brand and keep your name front of mind. Just make sure you choose the social media channels where potential customers will spend time, and not just use Facebook.

Smartphones: By now we all should know that our website needs to be mobile-friendly. But also consider smartphones when you look at all the ways you engage with your customers, from newsletters, prospectuses, to product instructions – make sure they all can be read easily on a smartphone. All the research points to a growing audience of consumers who are searching, reading, buying and making decisions through their mobile devices. Another feature we will see more of is retailers advertising through social media and adding ‘buy-now’ or ‘shop-now’ links in our social feeds. These are easy to add and open up a new sales channel.

The cloud: Using cloud-based services (whereby your IT applications are available through the internet) will, no doubt, continue to grow. Many businesses are already seeing the benefits of having services in the cloud but this will only increase as ultrafast broadband availability increases and services like Office 365 (Microsoft Office in the cloud) is adopted more widely. This presents businesses with an opportunity to reconsider how their workforce work. Could staff work from home or a location of their choice? Products like Slack and Skype for Business make it easier for a workforce to be connected and collaborate from locations outside of the office.

As technology is ever-evolving it can be difficult to predict the ‘next big thing’. However, what we do know is that technology will continue to rock the foundations of businesses. For some this will be a challenge, others an opportunity and for all of us there will be moments where technology takes our breath away.

Stuart Dillon Roberts
Digital Journey

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