No business can thrive today unless it becomes a technology business, as they say.
This does not mean that every company should develop and sell technology-related products and services. This means that every business needs to undergo a technology-driven digital transformation process.
Using tools, methodologies and applications that have been tried and tested by the likes of Google, an Apple or Netflix to build global empires, any company can achieve three main strategic goals:
- Building products and services that closely align with the needs of its customers.
- Streamline and drive efficiencies across all of their processes and operations.
- Develop a better understanding of their markets and competition.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a tech giant to put the latest technology trends into action. You don’t need IT departments with hundreds of employees or investing millions in computing infrastructure. What you need, though, is a thorough understanding of the most important technologies and what they can do for your business and industry. With so many fast-emerging technology trends, what should companies focus on in 2023?
There are three important technology trends that everyone needs to grapple with, as they are poised to disrupt almost every industry.
There’s also one much-touted technology that — while not quite a dead end — may not be relevant to every business, right now, as its proponents often claim.
Three techniques to watch out for
Use AI to gain a strategic advantage
Let’s start with Peggy! artificial intelligence (AI) It’s not a technology about to change the world – it’s already all around us and integrated into our daily lives. From searching Google for information, to taking pictures with our smartphones, to interacting with virtual assistants like Alexa or Siri, to shopping online, much of what we do is enabled by AI algorithms. And this will only increase.
For my money, AI will be the most transformative technology of the century. Just as electricity and mechanization allowed us to automate many manual and everyday tasks in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, artificial intelligence will do so in tasks that require thinking and decision-making. It’s also a prime example of a technology trend that, despite what you might think, is by no means limited to Silicon Valley giants, or financial services companies with millions to spend on research and development. If your business is using Google or Facebook ads to target new customers, you are using AI. If you use market research search engines to identify competitors in your local area, you are using artificial intelligence. But the trick is to use them strategically. This means identifying opportunities to use to achieve key business goals, measuring your success or failure, and adapting as necessary.
The truth is, the explosion of cloud-based AI-as-a-Service platforms available today is putting power in the hands of the average business user that would have seemed unimaginable five or so years ago. Like most people, you may have recently heard of or used ChatGPT, the natural-language-based chatbot that can conduct real-world conversations or generate written text that most people think came from a human. Similarly, DALL.E-2 became an Internet sensation, blowing minds with its ability to create images and illustrations based on words fed into it. These tools alone are sufficient for a range of business functions, but more advanced users will look for ways to leverage technology to define and build stronger customer relationships, and deliver customized products and services via end-to-end personalization. If there’s one tech trend companies simply can’t ignore in 2023, it’s artificial intelligence. Doing so would be a worse idea than ignoring the arrival of computers or the dawn of the Internet!
Prioritize cyber security to protect your business
Just a few days ago, we heard the news of a Internet attack Against Royal Mail, which is believed to have been carried out by Russian pirates. The attack meant that all overseas mail was stuck in warehouses and could not be delivered. If evidence is needed that the scale and severity of cyber-attacks is increasing, then disrupting the postal service of an entire country is a frightening example.
Research by Check Point indicates that the number of attacks during 2022 increased by 38% compared to 2021 and the average cost to an organization exposed to hackers is said to be around $3.8m (£3.1m). Unfortunately, It’s not just big companies that are being targeted. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation says that of the nearly 850,000 cyber attacks reported against organizations in 2021, most were directed at small businesses.
There are many catalysts for this. One is the ever more sprawling Internet of Things. This is a term for the network of devices over the Internet that once included computers and smartphones but now consists of smart cars, televisions, wearable devices, industrial equipment, kitchen appliances, and many more. Their existence simply means that there are more entrances into our networks for attackers to exploit. At the same time, the fact that so many of us are working from home following the widespread societal changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic means businesses are at risk from devices connected via less secure home networks.
All of this means that 2023 will, hopefully, be the year when organizational cybersecurity is no longer the only one Personnel responsibility in the IT department. At the board level, leaders and executives must grapple with the challenge of ensuring that it becomes a core business priority and strategic focus. On the shop floor, workers and managers need training and tools to understand the risks of social engineering attacks, phishing, ransomware and countless other emerging threats. Cyber security will also become one of the main use cases for the most important technology trend, which is artificial intelligence, in which intelligent software tools are deployed to identify patterns and predict where network traffic is likely to pose a threat. Perhaps most importantly, simple steps like ensuring good password practice can save companies a great deal of potential pain. All this means, in my opinion, that cyber security is the second technology trend that no company can ignore.
Expand your business to the metaverse
Here is a much misunderstood term. If you only care about a passing interest, to you it could mean anything from virtual reality to fantasy worlds to cartoon avatars and online games. This mixture of ideas is enough to turn many people off. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the fact that people don’t really understand it may have stopped the metaverse from taking off entirely. The danger is that this may somewhat cause people to miss the point. The metaverse represents the next level of the internet – one that will be more immersive, more social, and more accessible.
Actually, like Cook, I don’t like the term “metaverse” either. I think it represents An idea that has become very misleading And very diluted. It also became irrevocably associated with the dystopian ideas found in books like Neal Stephenson Snow crash And movies like Single player readywhich feature virtual worlds completely divorced from reality.
But I believe that many of the ideas and technologies gathered under the heading will drive the next generation of digital experiences. Take the digital twins. These are simulation models of any process or system—from a simple component to an entire business model, or even a city—that can be manipulated within a virtual environment. Since the environment itself is built using real-world data, the “twin” will act as if it were in real life.
Another technology central to the metaverse concept is extended reality – a term that covers both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Virtual reality allows us to create and step into immersive environments. Augmented reality is perhaps even more interesting, as it is a bridge between the real and the virtual world. It’s this intersection – a long way from escapism portrayed by the sci-fi fantasy shows of the Metaverse – that makes him so valuable to the business.
Concepts like digital twinning have obvious applications for any industrial business, but they can also be used by any company to conduct more effective marketing. Marketing is where many companies will find value in these new and immersive online platforms. Things like virtual dressing rooms and immersive product descriptions, for example. Simply put, it is a natural progression from the earlier “developments” of the Internet, all of which first found their utility in connecting businesses to customers. Having opportunities to create experiential and immersive customer connections now would, in my opinion, be as valuable as stealing an early lead in search engine marketing, social media marketing or mobile marketing in the early days of those technologies.
…and one to ignore for now
Wait for Web3 wonders
Now, coming to one tech trend that, while I still believe it has the potential to be hugely transformative in the long term, may in fact be irrelevant to the majority of companies through 2023.
This trend is Web3 – a term that covers a number of related technologies including decentralization, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). More specifically, it describes plans for a “decentralized internet” that uses these technologies to enable an online experience that is user-owned, perhaps truly democratic. In contrast to the current online experience which is largely owned and supervised by multinational tech companies, enforcing a “our house, our rules” policy on issues such as governance and freedom of expression.
The issues addressed by the Web3 concept are important. I believe that interesting applications of all technologies will emerge in the future.
But, it has become apparent that despite the hype, a few clear use cases have been proven for them across several industries. Furthermore, the scope has clearly been overrun in recent years by scammers and scammers, making it a minefield for anyone who wants to participate. The recent crash of cryptocurrency exchange FTX and the collapse of the NFT bubble last year are proof of this.
Once we clear out the wreckage and get-rich-quick schemes, we’ll start to see really valuable use cases. But unless you happen to be working in an area that’s already been shown to be broken—like financial services or logistics—that’s a tech trend you might want to sit through now, watching how it pans out. develops in the near future.