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Article 2020 small business tech trends you should probably pay attention to

There are all sorts of articles about 2020 tech trends that are going to be big.

But most of them either hype consumer trends or focus on technologies that, realistically, only the biggest companies could take advantage of.

We thought we’d try something different.

Here are four 2020 tech trends that are actually relevant and useful to small businesses—they won’t all get the most hype and they aren’t all brand new.

But if you’re thinking about using new technology—or just using technology in new ways—next year, you may want to think about these.

1. Smarter cameras could make your business smarter

There’s a lot of hype around AI. And it’s hard to tell what anyone ever means when they use that term. But one technology that does deserve the label is computer vision.

Computer vision is the technology that allows computers to identify, process and understand images. And while it used to be in the domain of academic research, it’s quickly moved closer and closer to the mainstream.

It’s what’s behind facial payment technology, where customers link an image of their face to a digital payment system, bank account and specific apps, and make purchases by posing in front of point-of-sale machines.

But you can expect it to become a real solution to a lot of small business challenges like:

  • Improving customer engagement:For instance, some stores already identify loyalty members as they walk in the store.
  • Simplifying processes: Instead of your people shelving and updating product prices all day, computer vision solutions could take care of mundane inventory monitoring more accurately and free your people up.
  • Strengthening security: Instead of passively recording, security cameras could become smart enough to also analyze the live video they record and make video files more easily searchable.

2. Low-code/no-code could change what (and how) you build

Low-code/no-code development platforms aren’t new, but they’re being adopted at an even greater rate by all sorts of businesses.

These platforms democratize the process of building software by empowering anyone to be a maker—no matter how little they know about web or app development. You just use simple, visual drag-and-drop interfaces to create…pretty much anything.

According to this helpful article from Ryan Hoover of Product Hunt1—websites, shops, chatbots, mobile apps, voice apps, paid newsletters, AR/VR experiences and internal dashboards.

All without writing any code. It’s remarkable.

The opportunity for small businesses is two-fold. For starters, you have more license to think bigger and build almost any kind of service for your customers without needing to hire rare and expensive developer talent.

But you can also think smaller and still make a big difference. Think about all the workflow problems you could solve if you could just build a small app that makes it easier for your people to get more done.

Does it take too long for customers to know where their orders are? Do you need an easier way to schedule customer appointments? Does it take you too long to track key financial metrics? If you can think of it, you can probably build it with low-code/no-code. 

3. Tech could help you keep your people healthy

Software has already done so much to either increase or optimize the productivity of so many jobs in so many kinds of businesses. Interestingly enough, some tech companies now feel like they should also help make sure people are happy while they work.

For instance, a new app called “Hppy” allows you to track your team’s moods. And an app called “iappreciate” gives teams a way to share kudos with people who deserve it.

Equally, existing tools and platforms are starting to introduce new features with similar objectives.

For instance, collaborative work management app Asana recently launched a tool called Workload that aims to prevent employee burnout by enabling project leaders to rebalance workloads when necessary.

This may not be the biggest trend of 2020—and you’ll certainly need a lot more than a few new software features to keep your people motivated and engaged—but it’s a welcome step in the right direction for businesses that care about their people’s well-being.

4. PWAs could make your site work a whole lot harder

At the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the novel idea of creating web applications that looked and behaved exactly like native apps.

The real Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) weren’t pushed until responsive websites became standard and Google saw all the advantages of PWAs and promoted them.

Now, mass adoption for these web pages is finally underway.

Essentially, PWAs make it so users can interact with your site in real time with instant load and an offline mode (a website won’t load if you lose your internet connection, but an app will display the last content it was showing before the connection fails).

So, here’s what this means:

Imagine your product catalog being available offline.

Imagine not needing to build a separate mobile app to complement your website.

Imagine giving your power users the option to add your website to people’s home screens with your logo on it.

All these features can help you consolidate your digital presence. They can give you improved mobile usability without the cost of building a mobile app.

2020’s going to be a big year

It’s always tempting to draw big sweeping conclusions about technology at the start of a new decade. But it’s impossible to ever get them right. What’s clear is that technology will continue to help small businesses punch above their weight. In both new ways and old ways.

Some of the trends we’ve mentioned here have been years in the making, but they’re all reaching new heights as we enter the new decade.

So, whether or not you latch on to any of these trends—or indeed any of the trends in the million other 2020 articles you’ll no doubt come across—the future looks bright for small businesses.

It’s getting easier to build, easier to delight and easier to improve. There are plenty of reasons to enter this new decade with a real sense of optimism.

For more advice on how to cut down your admin burden, or any other challenges your business might face, contact us at 1-877-633-1102—or visit our small business website.