The best emerging technologies for small businesses

We’ve come a long way since the introduction of the World Wide Web in the ‘90s. Technology has evolved into an integral part of society, even affecting how businesses operate and the quality of their services.

Join us as we look at the top three emerging technologies of 2019 and how they’ve helped businesses improve their customer experiences. We’ll also explore how new and emerging technology can help with the different aspects of running a business.

 

New Technology in Business

 

1. Artificial Intelligence, also known as AI

Artificial intelligence is when a computer system is able to perform tasks that would have traditionally required human intelligence, such as speech recognition, decision-making, language translation and many others. A typical example of a product that would use AI technology is a driverless car as the car has the ability to understand when to brake, turn and increase or decrease its speed based on the environment it’s driving in. But, AI is already heavily incorporated in day-to-day products many business owners may use, including home assistance systems such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home.

AI has the potential to provide businesses with a better, or more personalised service without a human presence. For example, small businesses could make improvements to their customer care with tools such as website ‘chatbots’, which use a machine learning algorithm to easily answer any queries a user may have.

There is also software such as, Cogito that can assess a caller’s emotion, tone and pace to allow employees to deal with a request or concern appropriately.

 

2. Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality is when a computer generated image is superimposed onto someone’s view of the real world. AR has hit the business market big, particularly with e-commerce sites and apps. A great example of AR in action is the Specsavers’ app. This allows you to try on hundreds of pairs of glasses before making a purchase by scanning your face, giving consumers more confidence when buying their products online and overcoming the obstacle of not being able to try the physical product in-store.

Another example is Ikea’s Place app, which allows you to pick pieces of furniture and virtually place them in your own room. This gives consumers the power to see how a piece of furniture would look in their home without having to go through the labouring process of buying it in-store and bringing it home with the possibility of having to return it.

Although AR integration has mainly been used by larger companies, it’s rapidly evolving and becoming more affordable for smaller businesses. Whether you own a hairdressing salon and want to give your clients the option to try a hairstyle before committing to it, or you run a kitchen design studio and would like customers to experience your designs virtually, augmented reality has the potential to give your business a futuristic and competitive edge.

 

3. Specialised Software

Specialised software is when a software has been specifically designed to serve an individual purpose or a business’s specific needs. This type of software can be designed to help with any business related task such as admin, book-keeping, social media and more.

An example of specialised software is the social media management tool, Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows business owners to manage their social media sites all in one place, without having to leave the platform, making social media management quick and more efficient.

Most specialised software is accessible and is commonly made for small businesses. It has the potential to free up time and make certain aspects of running a business smoother and easier to manage. Whether you’re looking for some software to improve team communication, marketing, scheduling or admin, there’s a program out there that can help.

 

Final thoughts

Business technology is rapidly evolving, and with technologies such as AR and AI you can give your customers a unique experience that could help to set you apart from direct competitors. It also has the potential to assist you in providing better customer care, which in the long run could improve efficiency, reduce costs and grow profit margins.

At Esme, we’ve provided loans to a number of businesses looking to incorporate and utilise technology to improve their offering. If you want to find out more about the people we’ve helped and hear their stories, visit our business stories page.

We offer unsecured loans for SMEs ranging from £10,000* to £150,000 over a one to five year repayment period, so you can choose a term that suits your business and cashflow. A business loan can offer you a quick injection of capital if you’re looking to invest in new technology for your business. Just fill out our 10 minute application form, or get an instant quote now.

*From £25,500 for sole traders

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