Technology is always evolving and the businesses that adapt are often the ones that get ahead of their competitors. Innovations in cloud technology and automated applications can have an immediate positive impact on a company, including their sales and revenue.

In our work with multiple small business clients, our ManagedIT team often sees how a new application can make a world of difference to a company, saving them time on redundant tasks and making their whole team more productive. Through our IT project services we help companies every step of the way through implementing and adopting new technology.

51% of small business owners believe artificial intelligence (AI) is an important factor when choosing technologies. (Salesforce)

While over half of small businesses understand the need for things like AI to help automate processes, about 41% feel it’s too complex for them to use. That’s where new cloud technology and applications come in. They take the AI process and make it easy with simple user interfaces that allow the use of automation, virtual reality, and AI without having to be a programmer.

What new, exciting business applications and cloud technology are coming up in 2019 that you need to be aware of? We’ve got our top picks below for trends we believe could significantly benefit small businesses in the coming years.

Top New Technologies to Watch for in 2019

It doesn’t take long for an emerging technology to become one that’s widely adopted, so the earlier you take advantage of them, the more you can get ahead of a slower competitor.

But just because a technology is new doesn’t mean it’s going to benefit you. That’s why we recommend giving ManagedIT a call to discuss new applications before you make the leap. Our team has years of experience and expertise that we can impart to you to help you make a sound decision.

Smarter Virtual Customer Service Agents

Computer generated chat bots or virtual agents that are affordable to small businesses have been frustrating for customers in the past due to their general inability to go beyond a few simple responses. That’s changing in 2019 as technology has made them smarter, more responsive and versatile than ever and a fit for all business budgets.

Facebook is a big leader in the virtual assistant frontier promoting messaging, rather than emails, because its often how customers want to communicate. They offer small businesses the ability to respond to customers via a chat bot on their Messenger platform that is very realistic in response style to a real person.

Microsoft is taking chatbots in another direction, directly into their cloud-based Office 365 software where their “Cognitive Services” can allow businesses to build chatbots that can interact with their suite of software products.

How do virtual customer service agents help you? They can assist your customers 24/7 even while you’re asleep, and free up your team to work on other tasks rather than just manning the website chat all day.

Hybrid Cloud Solutions

Cloud computing is definitely taking over the business world, but many companies aren’t yet ready to make a switch entirely to the cloud. They have concerns such as:

  • Security of data
  • Control over data
  • Access without needing an internet connection

In 2019, watch for more hybrid cloud solutions becoming available. These solutions offer the ability to fluidly operate with some data and applications on your own server and others benefiting from the mobility of the cloud. Hybrid cloud platforms give small businesses the best of both worlds.Some of the options currently out there for hybrid cloud computing are from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Platform9.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) for Small Businesses

The recent popularity of Pokemon Go, might not seem like it has a connection to small business, but it showed the power of AR and VR and how it can engage people in a big way.

Augmented and virtual reality is a technology that is also being scaled down to be within reach for small businesses. With plug-and-play applications that are already being utilized in industries study as real estate.

71% of customers would shop a retailer more if AR were offered. (Small Business Trends)

How can a small business boost revenue with AR/VR?

  • Showcase before and after for home improvement or construction projects
  • Easily display moving features of a product
  • Illustrate product options in a more virtual way to show color and style options
  • Present engineering designs in a more interactive way
  • Create virtual pop-up stores in high foot traffic areas (airports, malls, public squares)
  • Allow consumers to point phones at products to get more detail on the spot
  • Use virtual mirrors that can “try on” clothes in seconds to promote products more innovatively

Some of the companies already offering this type of technology to businesses are LiveTour, HoloBuilder, HP Reveal, and AR Business Card.

Virtual Prospecting for Sales

Using automated bots for customer service, isn’t only bot-based improvement in the coming year, the same technology is also being fine-tuned for sales prospecting.

Applications like Growbots, help companies scale up their prospecting and lead generation without needing to add more employees by using automation and company databases to help you zero in on the right prospects, email them personal and targeted information (automatically), and assign a lead score based upon their interest. Allowing a small business to prospect like an enterprise one at a much lower cost.

Looking for some technology guidance to help you grow in 2019?

Our ManagedIT experts can help your company evaluate and implement the technologies that are going to help you stand out from your competitors and generate more revenue in the coming years.

We offer free technology consultations! Sign up for one today to plan for a great new year ahead. Call us at +65 6748 8776 or contact us online.

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ManagedIT.SG is an IT Support, IT Solutioning and Managed IT Service Provider specializing in serving Small Businesses in Singapore. Call us at +65 6748 8776 and let us manage your Small Business IT today!