Technology is one of the keys to the growth of business. It goes without saying that marketing, finance, location, HR and other things are vital also.
Technology is the driving force that can often bring various aspects of a business together.
Six trends will play an important role as small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) adopt new technologies to stay competitive with larger corporations, stated the Information Technology Solution Providers Alliance (ITSPA), a national, non-profit alliance that helps SMBs understand how technology and local technology providers can help them succeed.
ITSPA’s advisory board, made up of top executives from the nation’s most respected and well-known solution providers, made the following predictions about the trends that will affect SMBs in 2005:
IP Telephony (VoIP) – VoIP, or the transmission of telephone calls over the Internet, can save SMBs money over time. While the technology is costly to implement, businesses will save money as costly long distance calls and conference calls can be made online and as phone plans are no longer needed.
Mobility and wireless networking – Growing worker mobility and less-expensive and lighter hardware have increased the demand for wireless networking (Wi-Fi.) According to Joel Plaut, a member of ITSPA’s advisory board and chief information officer for Lipman USA, Inc., “These widely available technologies offer an alternative to unsightly, expensive and fixed wired Ethernet connections.”
RFID (radio frequency identification) – RFID, also known as “smart tags,” will be used more in the United States in the coming year. According to IDC, a market research company in Framingham, Massachusetts, growth in the RFID marketplace “is expected to grow from $91.5 million to $1.3 billion in 2008.” The technology, which Wal-Mart is helping make more common in the U.S., will be used more frequently as an alternative to barcodes.
Security – Security continues to be an issue for all businesses, and will continue to be a concern as SMBs move to wireless technology. Companies must find ways to protect electronic data as they adopt emerging technologies. Companies must defend against worms, viruses and hackers, while complying with government regulations.
Utility computing – Utility computing–i.e., paying as you go for computing services–is an appealing model for SMBs and will grow in popularity in the coming year. SMBs can save money by paying for applications and hardware on an as-needed basis. With utility computing, companies would no longer have to purchase and maintain costly equipment or pay to update aging software.
Servers – Servers perform a number of vital tasks for SMBs such as hosting Web pages and email service as well as storing valuable/confidential information. As servers become more central to their operations, SMB companies are demanding compact and efficient servers that provide optimum performance. (read the full press release here)