As 2019 quickly approaches, businesses throughout Georgia are preparing for the start of the new year. Because the business world has become more and more competitive, every business needs to forecast how they will respond to macroeconomic trends and conditions. As part of that analysis, it is critical to understand the current state of the technology industry, technological trends, and where they are headed in the near future.
But let’s back up for the moment. Alpharetta is playing a major part of the tech boom in Georgia, making Georgia a competitor to Silicon Valley for tech industry growth and taking the lead in the Southeast. Many of those technology companies are staking their claim in Forsyth County to be on top of the action at a fraction of the cost, property tax wise. You can see the space still available here. The products of the tech industry affect every business in Georgia, regardless of whether your business is in the “tech sector.” New and disruptive technologies have changed the way that we execute traditional business tasks: finding new customers, satisfying current customers, and even managing the business’s books and records. Therefore, it is critical for your business to understand current technological trends. Also, you should determine how you can leverage these new technologies to your advantage.
While not exhaustive, the following list represents some of the most important technological trends for next year. Understanding and implementing any or all of these trends will help your business overcome competitors, delight customers, and increase your profits.
Next-generation 5G technology promises to drastically change the way that we use our cellular devices. If you aren’t yet aware, 5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology. It brings greater speed, lower latency, and the ability to connect many more devices at once. 5G technology can provide a long list of benefits to small and large business in Georgia. It can improve business communication and new user experiences for customers.
Several cellular carriers have disclosed that they will be rolling out 5G technology in several major cities next year—including Atlanta. For instance, AT&T plans to deploy 5G technology into Atlanta, along with other cities like Charlotte, Dallas and Indianapolis. Sprint and LG have even announced that the first 5G capable mobile phone will hit the Atlanta market in the first half of 2019.
There has been much hype over machine learning and artificial intelligence in the past several years. At its best, artificial intelligence will help make humans’ lives easier. At worst, artificial intelligence will grow so powerful that we cannot control it. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, artificial intelligence is getting better and will impact your business in foreseen (and unforeseen ways).
As just one example, automated speech recognition can serve your business in many ways. The most obvious instance is customer service, where customers can have common questions answered by virtual assistants. Artificial intelligence can give personalized recommendations to customers through a website recommendation engine. It can even help you retarget customers who may have been interested in one of your products, yet did not make a final purchase. With all of this said, artificial intelligence is complicated. You will likely need to consult some specialists to properly integrate it into your business.
Simply put, the world of data privacy has changed. Because of shifting consumer preferences and stringent regulations, data privacy will continue to take an increasingly important role in 2019. Because of this, you and your business must analyze your current data privacy practices. It can be useful to complete a “privacy audit” for your business, where you can determine how you are using customers’ online data and whether you actually need to change your data retention policies in response to regulations or customer concerns. While data privacy may not be the most exciting thing, it is absolutely critical to consider how you handle user data and to make any changes as necessary.
While the early internet was focused on the exchange of links and text, video has become an increasingly large part of internet traffic. In fact, according to a Cisco study, 80 percent of the world’s internet traffic in 2019 will be video.
This trend will undoubtedly affect your business’s digital marketing efforts. Instead of relying on text-focused marketing and advertising, you will want to place a bigger emphasis on video. Think about video ads instead of text-based ads on social media websites like Facebook or Instagram. Rather than a simple blog to generate organic traffic, consider a video blog or incorporating more video in your text blog posts. No matter what it is, make it a priority to incorporate video into your digital marketing strategy. While it may be more expensive and time-consuming on the front-end, you will obtain more engagement from the digital crowd.
In 2019, more businesses will adopt Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). PWAs essentially are mobile apps that are delivered through the web, but do not require users to download a separate app from an app store. PWAs have a number of inherent advantages. They are responsive, meaning that they will automatically keep the same dimensions and design when users access your PWA from different devices. They are quicker than non-PWAs because they run directly in the browser and they load instantly. PWAs can help your website get discovered, as they are built to emphasize search engine optimization. You can even send users push notifications if you use a PWA.
While you may be satisfied with your current website, a PWA can lead to more satisfied customers. Internet users have become increasingly impatient. One study found that the BBC lost 10 percent of users for every additional second it took for their website to load. By switching to a PWA, you can please impatient users and keep them engaged with your site.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a technologist, it is important to identify and remember these technological trends in 2019. In all likelihood, your competitors are noticing these trends and are planning on leveraging them in the new year. Luckily, there is still time to act. Ultimately, it’s recommended that you start thinking about how you can use these trends to your advantage. Granted, there aren’t any universal answers or solutions. That said, sitting down and understanding these trends may lead to some clear insights for you and your business, which can ultimately lead to more sales and higher profits.