In the last decade, we’ve seen the rise of a range of technologies, from AI and Cloud computing, to IOT devices and Blockchain. All of these impact on small businesses in some way, whether directly or indirectly.
With technology seemingly developing faster than ever before, what technological developments can we expect to see in 2020? In particular, what are the tech trends that will impact small businesses, particularly those in the midst of digital transformation?
Here are the top 6 tech trends for 2020 small businesses need to know about.
5G Will Launch
It’s been hyped for some time, and it seems like in 2020 we will finally see the launch of 5G networks across the globe. 5G is the next generation of mobile broadband, and as it replaces or augments the current 4G LTE network, you will notice exponential improvements in download and upload speeds. This is because the time your device takes to communicate with wireless networks is greatly reduced. 5G promises faster than ever connections, with download speeds reportedly set to be around 1 Gbps.
This could have huge impacts on small businesses, who will be able to download files, work in the cloud, and run other processes online much faster than ever before. In particular, businesses will be able to communicate in lightning-quick time both internally and externally, making processes more efficient, and improving customer service.
Diverse Mobile Technology
Consumers and businesses alike have been fairly mobile-centric in recent years. This is set to continue in 2020, with consumers using their mobile phones for everything from searching for products online, to making payments. This means that small businesses need to adapt to their mobile-centric customers.
In 2020, it is critical that all websites are mobile-friendly. Consumers are now more likely to browse or shop online, so having a website that is responsive to mobile is essential in order to maximise sales. This affects not only online businesses, but also brick-and-mortar ones: an Invesp study found that 32% of consumers changed their mind about a product after checking product information online while in the store. Additionally, Google introduced mobile-first indexing mid last year, which means that having a mobile-friendly site is critical for SEO.
Equally, mobile tools and technologies are becoming available that will help small businesses. Card reader technology has also gone mobile, which means businesses can now take payments literally anywhere, anytime. Customers can also now make mobile payments at home or in-store, making it easier for them to pay – which is good for everyone!
- Blockchain and Alternative Payment Methods
As Blockchain technology develops, in 2020 we will see more small businesses taking it up as a way of processing payments. Crypto and digital currencies are gaining traction with consumers, who are looking for ways to pay with digital payment methods.
In 2019, we saw crypto and digital currencies have an impact on consumer banking. This year we are likely to see them emerge in the context of business users. We’ve already seen apps such as Tide that allow consumers to make payments directly from their accounts to pay for products, skipping the credit card entirely. This could be a big plus for small businesses, representing significant savings on credit card processing.
- The Dominance of Voice
Voice technology is predicted to rise to prominence in 2020. Furthermore, this technology is set to significantly evolve, so that it will be able to answer complex data queries. This means that businesses will be able to use voice to search and analyse a range of information.
Additionally, the rise of voice in the home and for consumers means that businesses need to take this into consideration when it comes to their digital marketing. For example, when consumers search for products using voice search they use different words and phrases than they would when typing , which greatly affects SEO.
- Automation Software
You may think that automated technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) are too big to have any impact on small business, however that is changing in 2020. AI technology is having a wide impact on a range of tools and processes, including many that can help small businesses be more effective and profitable.
AI-based technology will help small businesses in areas such as email marketing, customer service, data entry, and accounting. This technology has been available to big companies for a while, and soon it will filter down to small businesses, giving those SMEs who are at the start of the trend an edge over their competitors.
- Big Data
Another tech trend that has been highly influential in recent years but until now viewed as too big for small business is big data. Like AI, as this technology becomes available to small businesses, those that get on board first will have a significant advantage over their competitors.
Big data will allow businesses to tap into data and harness the power of this information. Around 63% of UK businesses do not tap into their data at the moment, which represents a loss of opportunity and potential profits.