We may not have flying cars or meals in pill form yet, but the future is shaping up to offer many new gadgets and tech tools that can distinctly help businesses. The IMF believes 2014 will be a bumper-crop year worldwide, with global economic growth rising by 3.6 percent. How can your business leverage emerging technologies to capitalize on the favorable economic news for 2014? Here are our predictions for the Top Ten tech business trends in 2014.
Why watch a commercial when you can play a company-marketed game? Gamification represents an area of major growth for exposure, training and brand image. Games that go viral, furthermore, let customers do the advertising for the company.
9. Trust Goes by the Wayside.
The walls have ears, as they used to say in those old spy movies. Comprehensive security protocols will be the norm rather than the exception in 2014. A data breach can cost a company millions, meaning unsecured devices, log-ins and platforms represent a risk that few companies will want to take.
8. Freelance Work.
Employees will continue to look for full-time employment, but the desire to work on their own terms will only grow. Intuit reports that 2 in 5 Americans will work as freelancers by 2020. Plan ahead by modeling a non-contract workforce.
7. Mobile Mania Continues.
Bring-your-own device has already seen a surge in popularity as employees gain greater productivity and morale by incorporating their own smart phones or tablets into their work life. Mobile sales will soon eclipse actual population, so coordinating a business plan around mobile customers allows for capturing a much greater market share.
6. Global Markets
While the global economy affects every business, it often does so from the supply rather than demand side. That’ll change in 2014, predicts the Industrial Development Corporation, as up-and-coming markets in China, Russia and Brazil gain some 20 percent of global direct investment.
5. Digital Bookkeeping
You no longer need to pull up multiple applications or charts to manage payroll, inventory and taxes. Look at QuickBooks invoicing features to see if you’d be better served with cloud accounting or by a desktop solution. With industry-specific software, furthermore, digital bookkeeping allows for all types of entities, from a fishing boat to a coffee shop, to better monitor their money.
4. Social Buying
Socially Aware calculates that social media accounts for 1 in 5 hours spent online by Internet users. Social sites now offer everything from search engines to advertisements to direct purchasing platforms. Integrate sales with your social platform to watch your customer base grow.
3. 3D Printing
3D printing was big news in 2013, but 2014 is when it will really start to make an impact. 3D printers may still cost thousands of dollars but they pay for themselves quickly. Whether you want to use a 3D printer to make office supplies or to design a product itself, the raw materials cost little and the manpower involved falls to the mere push of a button.
Bitcoins that you could once purchase for $7 now costs more than $1,000. The rise in cost of a Bitcoin reflects the popularity of e-currency, a trend that will likely not wane in 2014. Capitalize on Bitcoins or PayPal to gain more sales.
1. The Cloud Rules All
A Tableau Software whitepaper reported that 76 percent of all cloud users claim that deployment speed provides the largest factor in favor of cloud platforms. If you have no current cloud provider, find one posthaste.