The new year is upon us, which means we all get a fresh opportunity to consider what’s important for the next 12 months. In the small to medium-sized business world, technology routinely tops that list—you can’t work well without technology, and technology that doesn’t work well will only hold you back. So while countless experts have revealed their lists of the biggest technology trends to come in 2015, we compiled our own top 10 for small and medium-sized business success in 2015.
1) Data security. In 2014, it seemed like a devastating new virus, hack, or data breach was revealed every week. The only upside of “the year of the breach”? That more people are concerned about data and online security than ever before.
2) An increased shift to mobility. Businesses continue to implement mobile solutions—smartphones, tablets, hybrid devices—for their employees. Even the mobile industry itself is changing, with many major U.S. cellular carriers switching to data-based instead of minutes-based pricing plans. What hasn’t changed is the rapid and continual shift toward computing capabilities available everywhere, all the time.
3) An increased move to the cloud. Mobile solutions are possible because of cloud computing; cloud computing continues to grow because business owners and employees demand increased mobility. As the cloud becomes more pervasive—nearly everyone’s cell phone is connected to it in some way—so does its potential to deliver productivity increases and cost savings to small to medium-sized organizations.
4) 3D printing. As the cost of 3D printing plummets, the use of this viable and cost-effective method of creating new objects increases. 3D printing innovations are still most evident in industrial, biomedical, and consumer applications, but every business could potentially benefit from such advances.
5) People-powered apps. You’ve probably heard of Uber, the rapid car service that allows you to secure a ride with a tap of your phone. Less well-known but on the rise are other apps that allow you to get groceries delivered, chores done, or laundry picked up just as easily. The common thread among all of them? The user is in charge—the app is designed to work for you.
6) The resurgence of Microsoft Windows. Although Windows 8 and 8.1 haven’t quite reached the widespread ubiquity of earlier versions of Microsoft’s flagship operating system, Windows 10 promises a better balance between traditional desktop and touch interfaces—with the beloved Start menu resurrected and modernized. Also, with the end of support of Windows XP in the rearview, Microsoft can start focusing on the future again. That should benefit business owners as much as consumers.
7) Streaming television. We don’t spend all our waking hours in the office, right? And for many of us, television represents the preferred nightly mode of relaxation. Far cheaper and more flexible options than traditional cable are proliferating these days, from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime to HBO’s landmark announcement that they’ll offer a subscription unbundled from cable TV packages in 2015.
8) Updated payment options. A string of 2014 products like Apple Pay and CurrentC stand to radically change the retail payment environment. And by Oct. 2015, all credit cards will be required to house information on microchips, not magnetic stripes. Connecting back with our number one trend for 2015, data security will be a major component of these new developments.
9) Health tracking technology. If it feels like everyone you know has a FitBit, FuelBand, or Jawbone Up, well, it’s because they probably do. Wearable technology went from the realm of the fantastic to everyday in 2014—new iPhones even come with Health apps built right in, and the Apple Watch has proved more popular than expected.
10) The Internet of things. It isn’t just our wearable technology that’s becoming more interconnected—it’s the everyday objects around us like thermostats, lights, and appliances that are increasingly unified. Of course, with such connectivity come heightened concerns about security and privacy.
This is where the expertise of CMIT Solutions comes in. Don’t dive headlong into 2015 without a technology advisor you can trust by your side. Let us help you with the ins and outs of IT so that you can focus on growing your business and providing excellent service to your clients in the new year.