Each year, we wonder what the upcoming 12 months will bring in terms of trends that can help us do more with our businesses. Over the years, we’ve benefited from technology trends like social media, cloud computing, and software as a service.
So what will 2014 bring, technology-wise?
#1. More Analog Tasks Will Go Digital
If you’re old enough, you know why we say we have to “balance the books” when it comes to accounting. It’s hard to imagine not using accounting software. This year, I predict the average small business owner will start using digital versions of paper and analog tasks like:
- Employee scheduling (that’s what my company does)
- Keeping track of calendars and appointments
- Tracking travel expenses and scanning receipts
#2. We’ll See More Outsourcing and Virtual Teams
More businesses are letting go of the idea that a team can only be functional if all members work in the same physical office. That opens the door to working with freelancers and dev teams in other locations, as well as letting your staff work virtually. This can help you realize major cost savings if you don’t have to worry about the overhead of an office.
#3. We’ll Get a Better Handle on Analytics
So Google took our keyword data and made it harder to figure out how customers were coming to our site. While this necessitates us changing how we view analytics, it also invites new solutions. I suspect we’ll see several new types of analytics companies presenting options for us to analyze a customer’s behavior before and after arriving on our website, without our Google training wheels.
#4. Voice Recognition Will Become Commonplace
If you’ve been a newer-gen iPhone user, Siri’s old hat to you. If you’re an Android phone owner, you were probably delighted last year when Google rolled out its voice recognition program. Expect to see more widespread adoption of voice tools, as well as integration into different platforms.
#5. Tablets Won’t Be as Novel as Business Tools
Even just a year or two ago, it was a shock to see a restaurant using an iPad to take orders. We’re not seeing complete adoption in the restaurant industry just yet, but we are starting to see more industries using tablets in creative ways, such as doctors using them to record notes while with a patient. Tablets are now affordable enough to be “just another office tool.”
#6. Wearable Technology Won’t Get Far…Just Yet
If you’re tired of hearing about Google Glass and not actually seeing mainstream adoption, you’ll probably be happy if the hype dies down a little. And I suspect it will, though fashion designers might (should, anyway) get involved to make the innovation more user-friendly and fashion-forward.
It’s always interesting to ponder what technology holds for us. We live in exciting times, don’t we?
Related: The A To Z Of Business Trends Predicted For 2014
Images: ” Modern wireless technology and social media illustration / Shutterstock.com“
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