The Road Ahead: Technological Advances Impacting Businesses

Sep 29, 2017

A team using VR headsets

According to leading research firm Gartner, Inc., three out of ten jobs will likely be replaced by software, robots or smart machines by 2025. Gartner also anticipates that digital businesses will need 50 percent fewer business process workers as early as 2018. Fortunately, these same experts also anticipate that automation will create new jobs and opportunities for growth. Still, these predictions do suggest that technology is producing sweeping changes across multiple industries that will require considerable adjustment. Here’s a look at just a few ways technology is transforming the way business gets done:

A shift to the cloud: With the rise of cloud computing, organizations are saving money and freeing up resources that can now be put toward growing their core areas of business –and creating more value for their business and those they serve. Cloud-based applications provide businesses with access to software, storage and innovative technologies without having to purchase, install, store and maintain them on their own. Instead, businesses can lease these items from a managed provider for a low monthly fee and cancel them when they want to make a change. With very little equipment to install on their IT infrastructure, this subscription-based model (also known as SaaS for software as a service) allows businesses to do more with less.

Bitcoin goes mainstream: The digital currency created in a shroud of secrecy may grow in value over the next five years. Unregulated and untraceable, bitcoin is often associated with black market dealings as it provides anonymity to criminals. But as Forbes asserts, bitcoin has proven useful in cross-border exchanges and gray markets as well. According to Charlie Youakim from Forbes Finance Council, demand for the cryptocurrency will continue to rise as we move toward a more cashless society.

Not to be confused with a black market, a gray market is the trade of a commodity through distribution channels that are legal but unintended by the original manufacturer. That is, gray market products are sold by a manufacturer or their authorized agent outside of the terms of the agreement between the reseller and the manufacturer. Also known as parallel imports, these goods are sold at a discount and are usually obtained from another country. 

Virtual reality (VR) will play a bigger role: A powerful tool for creating exhilarating, immersive and memorable experiences, virtual reality is a hot topic among businesses and consumers alike. For those who have yet to encounter it, virtual reality is a computer-generated, three-dimensional simulation of an environment that is explored in a realistic way through sensory stimuli such as sights and sounds. As Entrepreneur magazine explains, VR can suddenly transport customers to any scene in the world. From designing prototypes and reconstructing accident and crime scenes to providing tours and recruiting talent, VR shows much promise both in terms of practical applications and in building brand awareness.

The proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI): Traditional assumptions about machines were that they could only perform tedious or monotonous tasks – lacking awareness of context and devoid of any capacity for critical decision-making. We now know that these presumptions couldn’t be further from the truth. With the ability to analyze millions of data points instantly, machines can identify patterns and connections well beyond the abilities of humans. What’s more, a key feature of artificial intelligence is that machine learning improves over time as data is processed and outcomes are achieved. 

Having the ability to process data and develop knowledge at rapid speeds, artificial intelligence will have widespread impact on banking and finance, healthcare, manufacturing, customer service and many other industries in years to come. In the banking and finance industries alone, the benefits of AI will be realized in such areas as customer service and communication with customized solutions offered in real time, improved fraud detection and productivity gains from automation and streamlined organizational workflows.

Finally, businesses get serious about security: In the wake of the Equifax breach which may have impacted up to 44 percent of American consumers, it’s clear that organizations must make cybersecurity a top priority if they are to survive. With more endpoints on their networks than ever before, companies need a solid strategy for reducing ongoing risks while responding immediately to imminent threats.  As an SFPCU member, we think you’ll find it reassuring to know that we’re continually investing in the most current and effective technology to safeguard your personal information. With a series of significant enhancements our security team has made within the last year, we are well protected from the threat of a cyberattack.

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