Technology is moving and improving at a rapid pace and there are definitely some larger trends that small business owners need to take note of and watch.
One of the biggest mistakes I see in our local business community is the fear that small businesses have of embracing newer technology. These owners are either too slow to adopt new solutions that can dramatically help their businesses or are too afraid to challenge the status quo. That’s too bad and certainly a missed opportunity because in my opinion technology is the great equalizer.
Technology is the great equalizer! - John Kai, founder of the Hilohub Click To Tweet
The Internet of Things
There is definitely a buzz surrounding the talk about the “Internet of Things” being “the next big thing”. Well, all that excitement is warranted. The Internet of Things is about all of our mundane machines being equipped with inexpensive data-gathering sensors and networked on a cloud-computing platform. In plain English: Machines talking to each other and thus making everything in our lives “smart”.
But it’s more than just machine-to-machine communication. The magic is in the sensors that gather data that can be measured and evaluated and doing something with that data. Let me give you an example. Today, there is much needed work being done on one of the many bridges along Highway 19 and the 45-mile drive from Hilo to Honokaa.
The technology exists today to use smart cement equipped with sensors to monitor stresses, cracks and any other problems that can then be sent to a database to alert us to fix problems before they cause a catastrophe like a bridge collapse. Or data can be collected about the average speed of cars going over the bridge or the average weight of normal usage of cars on the bridge.
If the sensors detect that the weight of cars on the bridge is above normal and that the speed of cars has slowed considerably versus normal speeds, this data can be sent via wireless internet to your car to automatically slow your car down for you to prevent a potential accident. This information can also be shared over social media sites like Facebook or Twitter in real time.
The Forecast Calls for more Cloud Computing
You want access to your information where you are and when you need it. That is not necessarily on your desktop or servers.
I’ve been using cloud computing services like Dropbox, Evernote, Google Docs and Apple iCloud for over 3 years now. Being able to access information via my Apple iPhone from anywhere in the world is nothing short of magic in my eyes. In addition to this accessibility, I am no longer concerned about data backup or disaster recovery from a crashed hard drive. Also, the cost savings is a no-brainer.
Let me be blunt. If your business is still running on servers instead of storing your data in the clouds, you just might be a dinosaur.
But you’re not alone, according to a study by Intuit. Only 37% of U.S. small business have fully adapted to cloud computing. The good news is that nearly 80% expect to do so by 2020.
Only 37% of small businesses are using cloud computing. If you're not, you just might be a dinosaur! Click To Tweet
It’s a Mobile World
Local mobile searches (85.9 billion) are projected to exceed desktop searches (84 billion) for the first time in 2015, according to eMarketer. What this means is that your internet presence MUST be optimized for mobile use and today’s smartphones and tablets.
Take a good hard look at your company website. Does it scream 90’s to you? Ask your kids or your grandchildren, they will be brutally honest with you.
It starts with a choice:
- Opt for responsive design: Develop your current site to size its content based on which devices and browsers are displaying it, or;
- Build a separate mobile site: Your website redirect to the mobile version when a mobile device accesses it.
Note: The Hilohub.com site uses a responsive design platform.
According to website designers at BaseKit, 91% of small business websites are not optimized for mobile traffic. So, what are you waiting for?
91% of small business websites are not optimized for mobile traffic, according to BaseKit.com Click To Tweet