4 Emerging Technologies That Will Change How You Do Business

(By Jason Brick)

Big data companies want to host an entire IT infrastructure of a company or government agency on secure, custom-designed server farms. So not only is all the data housed on these networks, but each employee’s “desktop” will also be housed on these servers. Desktop-as-a-Service promises to marry the key parts of the workstation experience with the ability to access anything from anywhere seamlessly.

In 1970, Alvin Toffler’s book Future Shock warned of a future where technology changed things so quickly that we would never fully adjust to one change before something new shifted the paradigm again. Though it’s arguable whether or not we’ve reached that point, you can’t argue with the rapid pace that technology advances today.

As a small-business owner how can you keep on top of the quick changing world of technology? For starters, keep your eye on the following four technologies currently gaining ground and popularity.

1. Desktop as a Service

Big data companies want to host an entire IT infrastructure of a company or government agency on secure, custom-designed server farms. So not only is all the data housed on these networks, but each employee’s “desktop” will also be housed on these servers. Desktop-as-a-Service promises to marry the key parts of the workstation experience with the ability to access anything from anywhere seamlessly.

The current model: Employees do their work and access company documents (usually loaded with sensitive data) from desks in the office, laptops on the go, or by logging into the company network from an array of semi-compatible personal devices.

The big change: Large networks of virtual desktops are hosted on centrally located servers run by experts in security and connectivity. Employees can log in from the location of their choice, on the device they prefer, with unprecedented security and capacity for collaboration.

What it means for your business:

  • Easier global distribution of workforce

  • Enhanced telecommuting possibilities

  • Frequent, low-cost upgrades (and downgrades) of computing power on demand

2. Hangouts and Helpouts

Google’s video communication tools have moved from spotty and simplistic to robust. Built specifically for business application, they have proven reliable and dependable. As they prove the profitability of the model, competitive offerings won’t be far behind. As video-chat proliferates, clients and customers will expect it as part of your offering.

The current model: Face-to-face meetings or teleconferences with limited integral tools to facilitate collaboration, or collaboration tools with limited integral tools for real-time communication.

The big change: Video chat—and broadcast—capacity from even low-power computers attached to a suite of production, productivity and collaboration tools. Google’s Helpout feature adds a clock connected to a payment processing service that bills clients by the hour at the end of a call.

What it means for your business:

  • Real-time meetings across the globe

  • Virtual conferences held by broadcasting at announced times

  • Consulting with clients (or hiring consultants) regardless of geography, without paying travel and lodging expense

3. Advanced Analytics

As more computing power and information is stored at the same server farms, thanks to Big Data, the ability to analyze that data increases in speed and relevance.

The current model: Gathering data on a limited scope to support individual reports or inform individual decisions. Analysis is based on a market of information gleaned from conscious customer responses.

The big change: Exponential growth in computing power and connectivity will quickly allow real-time analysis of immense amounts of data, including metadata and precisely modeled case studies.

What it means for your business:

  • Instantaneous access to precisely defined data while making major decisions

  • Statistical modeling as part of the brainstorming process

  • The very real possibility of an AI singularity—when artificial intelligence overtakes human intelligence—this century

4. Additive Manufacturing

Inexpensive, real-time, on-demand manufacturing is still a few years off—right now we have expensive, slowish and quirky manufacturing from machines that run into the tens- and hundreds- of thousands of dollars. But expect that to change rapidly over the next several quarters.

The current model: Machining, or paying an overseas subcontractor, to machine individual components for parts. Creating unique tools, or building large batches, of a prototype before deciding whether or not to move forward with a given product.

The big change: 3D printers will soon be able to create precisely designed objects with moving parts and the material strength to pass jet engine specifications. Called “additive” manufacturing because the process consists of building layers upon layers to create an object, rather than the traditional “subtractive” process of removing layers of raw material until what’s left looks like what you want.

What it means for your business:

  • Quick prototyping to reduce research and development costs

  • Replacement parts created on demand

  • “Warehouses” consisting of a single machine plus its 3D medium.

(Source: Openforum)

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