This is a golden age in innovative technologies for small businesses. Think about these technologies as an investment in your business.
They help you produce more and get things done faster, at lower operating expense. Remember, time is money.
Every one of the ten innovative technologies listed below can be deployed today in a small business. And they will be worth every penny.
Thin Laptops and 2-in-1’s Deliver Performance On the Go
Today’s notebooks, thin laptops and 2-in-1’s have enough power to serve as your main computer when you’re in the office. Yet they are super portable for outside the office.
Dell features multiple options to choose from. The Microsoft Surface and Google Pixelbook are other light devices.
They give employees mobility to take it with them on the go. Some come with powerful Intel Core I7 processors. Depending on the device, they may have Windows 10 or Chrome OS operating systems. With them, you get the computing speed and performance a small business needs.
Many come with touch screens, which is perfect for customer demonstrations and graphic design. Or users can simply navigate the screen much like a tablet. Many feature long battery life, too, for lots of power outdoors, at conferences, or in while traveling.
The light and thin form factor, long battery life, and powerful processors offer usefulness and freedom.
Smartwatches Give You Updates on Your Wrist
Smartwatches such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch and the Apple Watch are part of the innovative category of wearable technology.
Smartwatches can help you stay fit by keeping you on an exercise regimen. They can track calorie intake and even monitor breathing. They also track sleep cycles.
They can check your schedule for the day, send reminders and deliver text messages. You can make and calls without picking up your phone. And if integrated with a payment service such as Samsung Pay, you can pay for purchases with your watch. Oh, and it even gives you the time!
Smart Routers and Mesh WiFi
Setting up a router can be like having to learn a foreign language. But Google WiFi is one of the simplest WiFi systems to set up.
It uses your electrical outlets to create a mesh network. You can move devices to various outlets to get coverage.
It comes with a smartphone app to guide you through the setup. You don’t need to know technical concepts.
It also monitors your network to identify problems. The app tells you in plain English what’s wrong and how to fix it.
Google WiFi is ideal for a home office or a small office in a business not large enough to have an IT department.
The devices are white and rather attractive looking, unlike most routers.
4K Computer Monitors Enhance Productivity
Adding a second monitor to your laptop or desktop aids productivity more than you might imagine. If you’ve never used multiple screens, you will be pleasantly surprised. You spend less time trying to find your place when moving between programs or documents.
Consider 4K Ultra-High Definition monitors for additional monitors.
Ultra HD 4K monitors offer super-accurate color-rendering . They have four times the screen resolution of a standard 1080p full HD monitor. With viewable sizes ranging from 23 to 31.5 inches, these monitors give you more screen space. That means less scrolling and zooming.
For example, spreadsheets can be used at lower zoom levels, showing more of the data at one time. This reduces time spent jumping around. In turn, this means fewer errors and the time spent correcting them.
Smart Stylus – Add to Your Productivity
A smart stylus offers much more than a “dumb” rubber-tip. Today’s smart stylushttps://trint.com/es communicate with software programs such as drawing and note-taking apps on touchscreen devices.
For example, the Adonit Pixel is an accurate and high quality smart stylus for Apple devices, allowing you to take notes in your own handwriting. You can doodle and draw with it. It integrates with a variety of apps so you can do such varied tasks as create digital paintings and comics, or sign PDF contracts. Other styluses are available for other devices.
Cloud-Based Office Software Enables Team Collaboration
Cloud-based office software is the only way to go these days. It positions your team to work together and share documents, even if they are not in the same office. Examples are Google GSuite, Zoho Docs and Microsoft Office 365.
- Cloud calendars are always up to date.
- Email can be accessed from any device — no manual syncing required.
- Pricing documents updated in the office are immediately available to salespeople who are on the road.
- Automatic backups remove the necessity for manual backups at the end of each business day.
- And you get all together with the office software that your employees are familiar with.
Online Graphic Tools Require No Design Skill Needed
The latest generation of graphic tools puts the power of professional results in everyone’s hands.
This doesn’t mean you’ll never need the services of a professional designer. Some projects will always require a professional touch.
But sometimes you just need casual graphics — fast.
- This may be an image you want to share on Facebook.
- Or perhaps you need a email marketing graphic.
- Or you want to put out an invitation to an online event such as a webinar.
You may not have time to go to your designer for small projects like these.
Canva for Work offers the ability to save branded templates. It gives access to one million premium images. Your entire team has access to the same materials to ensure design consistency across your company.
Electronic Signature Apps Streamline Signing Contracts
Signing contracts is such a pain! You have to print it out, sign it with a pen, then scan or fax it. And the same goes for the person on the other side who’s signing.
It’s no wonder it can be tough to get a signed sales contract back!
What if you could make it so easy, that contacts get signed in minutes? (Nothing like striking while the iron is hot!)
Electronic signature applications simplify the process of signing documents. Electronic signature apps are legally recognized.
Adobe Acrobat Document Cloud (DC), Docusign and Zoho Sign are examples of today’s electronic signature applications. Not only can you sign electronically on a computer, tablet or phone, but they send reminders to other parties to sign. They also store the signed documents.
This cuts down the amount of paper-shuffling you and your team have to do.
Drag-and-Drop Website Builders Give You Nimbleness, Control
We in small businesses value being nimble. Need to get a website up fast? Like in an hour or two? Need to make a few homepage changes? That’s what today’s new breed of website-building tools deliver.
Weebly, Wix and Squarespace are a few of the names in this space giving you the ability to quickly set up and edit a website. No coding or graphics design skill is required. Yo u use templates and drag-and-drop tools. The resulting website is also hosted, meaning you don’t have the hassle of dealing with any of the underlying technology. It’s all handled for your business.
Voice Technology Lets You Say, “Look, No Hands!”
Interacting with a computer via voice, not just text, has been around for a long time. The difference today is that it has matured to the point that it is practical for everyday business use.
Voice-to-text technology lets you command your computer with voice. For example, the digital assistant Cortana included in Windows 10 enables you to perform functions on your computer including searches with voice commands. Apple has Siri. Samsung has Bixby. Amazon has Alexa. And Google has Google Assistant.
There are other apps, too, that help with specific tasks.
- Dragon’s speech recognition software is great for dictating documents via voice.
- Text-to-speech technology in applications such as NaturalReader enables text to be spoken back to you. This is invaluable for those with accessibility issues such as poor eyesight. But it’s also helpful for business tasks such as proofreading documents.
- Low cost transcription can be done literally in minutes, using automated services like Temi and Trint.
You really must think of innovative technologies as an investment in your business. Don’t pick tech just because it seems fun or your employees want new things. And don’t focus solely on what it costs. Try to put a number on what you stand gain. By investing, you can increase your throughput, decrease costs and increase revenue. And you can open up opportunities for your business to grow and excel.
Image via Shutterstock
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