Technology & Innovation

Top 3 game-changers SMBs must embrace


28 Oct 2020

Today’s technology is incredibly advanced, and remarkably, it continues to evolve and give life to things beyond what used to be just figments of our imagination or sci-fi movies. We’re, after all, living in the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution or the digital revolution.
Technology revolutionized everything and drastically changed how we live, do business, connect to people and communities, and this made the world smaller and more transparent.
These days, we communicate more through tech tools and most goods and services are purchased online. Thanks to the internet and smartphones. The pandemic is pushing more gth in e-commerce with many opting to buy goods online than exposing themselves to health risks by going to the shops.
In 2019, e-commerce sales reached USD3.5 trillion and though the market is currently not doing as well due to the global recession, analysts still anticipate it to post gth in 2021.
The new normal is also pushing small and medium businesses (SMBs) to invest more on technologies to shore up visibility, sales and essentially become more competitive in the eyes of today’s tech-savvy consumers. There is hardly any company in today’s world without a digital footprint.
For SMBs, keeping themselves updated with the latest trends in technology is imperative. Here are the top 3 tech game-changers that they should watch out for.

Artificial Intelligence 
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other automated tools remain to be the top emerging technology for many industries today, especially in the manufacturing sector, where a smart system takes over from humans to speed up the production process, eliminate human errors, achieve efficiency and ultimately produce better and more products at half the time.
AI is also widely used in doing billings, processing payments, calculating prices and claims. We’re fast becoming a cashless world. AI is also used to process large amounts of data in the supply chain, including customer details, transaction records, records of interaction to the company website, list of potential customers, among other things. 
This technology is also used to recognize objects, images, and manage complex rules with data sets, improving business processes. AI can also replace people and simplify the processes pertaining to manufacturing products and purchasing transactions. Thus, optimizing production and lowering labour costs. 
SMBs have now also realized that AI can be tapped to provide high-quality customer service using chatbots, another technological breakthrough associated with Artificial Intelligence. Chatbots, also known as digital assistants, provide on-line conversation between humans and machines. It offers a fast and convenient way to answer simple inquiries, purchasing transactions, and connecting to company customer service staff if necessary. 

Social Media 
Ever wondered why most advertisements online seem to know what you are interested in? A lot of netizens seem to experience seeing ads of things they think about even without looking for it online. 
That is because technology is incredibly becoming more advanced. Software developers are now able to create technical systems that can collect, process, and track information based on the online activity of internet users. That is why advertisements, especially in social media, are the best platform for SMBs to introduce their brands locally and globally. 
An estimated 3.6 billion people across the world are using different social media platforms. There are limitless potentials to be reached in this new medium—whether for free or paid ads—to create a good brand and generate sales.
SMBs are cognizant of this and how search engine optimization (SEO) powers up any company’s visibility in the digital world in any part of the world. 

People are starting to look into digital currencies, even more so now that we are experiencing a pandemic. The chances of the Covid-19 virus lingering on banknotes and coins are causing people to use e-wallets and digital currencies. 
Digital currencies like bitcoins are from the same technology that blockchain works. “The blockchain is an indestructible digital ledger for keeping track of economic transactions which can be programmed to maintain not only financial transactions but virtually everything that has value,” asserted Don & Alex Tapscott: Blockchain Revolution 2016.
Blockchain continues to change the way businesses operate and transact. With blockchain, every transaction made with the digital ledger is kept in verifiable records, assuring companies that their digital assets are secure.
Private payment transactions are transparent and fast compared to traditional ways. There is also no government intervention, preventing inflation or hyperinflation. Businesses can improve their financial efficiency by using blockchain. 
Still, experts warn that blockchain is extremely volatile and the world is still adopting to using digital methods like the cryptocurrency. One must explore it with great caution.