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Tech trends and how they're disrupting business

Johannesburg, 16 Oct 2017
Read time 3min 00sec

The fourth industrial revolution is here, and much like the one that took place roughly 40 years ago, it's being powered by innovation in IT. Whereas before it was the advent of the Internet, advances in communication methods, and the evolution of the computer, now it's a fusion of emerging technologies in the physical, digital and biological spheres.

Technologies like AI, 3D printing, VR, automation and IOT make almost every aspect of our lives quicker, cheaper and simpler, including business, and as a result, almost every industry in every country is experiencing some kind of disruption.

Take Uber for example. It has disrupted the taxi industry worldwide, and it doesn't necessarily own any vehicles. The same could be said for Air BnB - the world's largest accommodation provider that owns no real estate, and Facebook - the world's most popular social platform that doesn't create its own social content. All of these companies and their products engage with their clients via technology, leaving them inspired, satisfied, and wanting more.

The fourth industrial revolution is still in its infancy however, so what's the next disruption going to be? That's anyone's guess, but it's clear that the future is digital. Businesses need to embrace cloud, data, mobile, and social - what Gartner has coined as the nexus of forces - if they want to remain both competitive and relevant today. Current trends to keep abreast of are robotics, machine learning, industrial Internet (IOT platforms), and the blockchain to name but a few.

Where do you go from there?

It depends on your individual business requirements. For many, customer experience is a great starting point. To that end, 85% of conversations today are now done over text messages, while just 15% are over voice. Yet businesses continue to prioritise voice-centric lines of communication with their customers.

But it's not true of all, as many businesses have wizened up to their customer's wants and needs. They've since begun to implement live chat support, chatbots, and more into their Web sites and social media platforms.

Thanks to AI and machine learning though - using natural language processing and speech recognition - telephonic support will remain viable. It's just going to be somewhat different, as clients will need to get used to verbally interacting with a computer, and not a human. The payoff is that they will be directed and assisted in a much speedier fashion.

If customer experience isn't a priority, there are other ways to incorporate tech trends into your organisation. With the power of the cloud for example, employee productivity will improve through greater opportunities to work remotely. Thanks to this sort of efficiency boost, you'll be able to get your products and services to market faster, saving you both time and money.

Learn to embrace tech trends

Change is scary, there's no doubt about that. Sitting by and idly watching technology evolve without paying attention to it and the trends that follow however, is a recipe for failure.

If anything, technology is here to improve business practice and the customer experience, not complicate it or make it worse. Embrace the right tech trends for your industry, and your business could be the next disruptor in your field.

Editorial contacts
Telviva Kate Rankin (+27) 87 820 0291
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