Business systems have come a long way since the first computerized systems made their way into the small to mid-sized business sector in the 1980s. Innovations throughout the world of technology, from areas as diverse as manufacturing and finance, are changing how business systems think, work, and function.
The following are some innovations that we think will have the biggest impact on business systems in the near future. Although no prediction is foolproof, these innovations are already slipping into many diverse areas of business.
Five Innovations to Watch
- Blockchain: Once relegated to the world of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain looks as if it will cause the next big technological explosion. Innovations that depend upon fast, anonymous, and secure transactions can rely upon blockchain’s digital ledger algorithm to record and create transactions in the blink of an eye. Banking, financial services, and insurance are already exploring the use of blockchain technology, but it’s making ripples in other areas where secure transactions are required. Someday, you may be able to vote online thanks to blockchain technology or buy a house using this encryption technology.
- Internet of Things (IoT): It sounds like science fiction, but it’s true: The Internet of Things (IoT) is here to stay, and it’s probably in your home, car, and office. Sensors in your washing machine, clothes dryer, heating system, car’s exhaust system and more are already helping engineers understand how people use their products and troubleshoot problems. Look for more real-world applications as the IoT becomes both widely accepted for consumers and affordable for companies to add sensors that pick up data into almost anything imaginable.
- Self-driving cars: Although many people balk at the idea of self-driving cars, someday we may see them on highways and in self-contained areas like airports, cities, and factories. Self-driving cars are being tested around the world, and while some consumers believe they cannot be safer than people-driven cars, they can actually be safer and more efficient. If self-driving cars do become mainstream, they’ll disrupt many industries including taxi and car services, delivery services, and much more. Factory owners can use self-driving cars to move materials around an industrial plant or to shuttle workers to and from office buildings to the buildings housing machinery. Airports can use them like hotel shuttles to move passengers to and from their lodgings. It’s an intriguing concept and one looking more likely for mass-adoption every day.
- Cognitive computing: It’s also called artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Cognitive computing helps computers “think”, learn, and respond to routing commands, getting better as they go. It also generates enormous sums of data which, thanks to cloud computing, can be more easily accessed and used. As companies continue to explore applications using cognitive computing, it’s possible that soon, small to mid-sized businesses will benefit from the power of AI.
- Hyper-converged systems: Hyper-converged systems integrate several technologies. These technologies can then be managed using one single tool set. Nodes added to the basic unit of the system can expand the system to the size, scope, and parameters required. The components in such systems are so merged that they cannot be easily unbundled. Together, the convergence of all the technologies in a hyper-converged system offer a brand new tool. Technology companies continue to explore the real of hyper-convergence and what it offers to the business world.
Many of these innovations seem like science fiction, or like something that’s so outrageous and out of reach for the average business owner that it’s more fantasy than fact.
Think about the sci-fi programs you watched as a kid. Perhaps you were a fan of the crew of the starship Enterprise?
The Enterprise crew whipped out a small handheld communicator the size of a deck of cards, flipped it open, and spoke into it. Today, we have cell phones just like that.
The Enterprise crew used a tricorder, a device about the size of a paperback book, to look for information on flora, fauna, and other facts about the worlds they visited. Today, we have smartphones in our pockets that can access the internet and provide information on the temperature in Moscow, the best way to cook chicken, and the latest stock prices with the touch of a fingertip.
The world of science fiction often presages the world of science fact. Technology continues to grow and advance rapidly, and soon we will see many innovations make their way from the confines of the laboratories and think tanks to the desks of companies worldwide. It’s a great time to explore business systems and the many ways in which technology can enhance them.
Business Systems from IWI Consulting Group
IWI Consulting Group is a Canadian-based company that helps match effective business systems with companies to enhance their productivity, workflow, and more. Software such as Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3), Sage 300cloud (formerly known as Sage 300), Sage CRM, and other Sage products enhance productivity for manufacturers and industries producing a wide range of goods. For more information on our business systems and services, contact us today.