The best trends in tech are often set by entrepreneurs, not large companies. There’s a reason why most success stories start in someone’s garage — the ability to work with new tech without the trouble of corporate red tape gives up-and-comers the ability to jump on new trends and tech to rise to the top. It’s why Mark Zuckerberg was able to beat MySpace and Friendster with Facebook, and it’s why new technology is likely to do the same with entrepreneurs today.
But entrepreneurs don’t have in invent Facebook to use upcoming technology. Whether you’re in blue-collar manufacturing or Silicon Valley, these are some of the innovations every leader or small business owner should know about.
Officially known as additive manufacturing, 3-D printing is changing the way we produce everything from tools to body parts. The process uses a durable, plastic-like substance to build virtually any object the mind can imagine. A mockup is created on a computer program like AutoCAD and the printer pieces the new object together.
This new technology is an absolute game changer for mass production, or lack thereof. Imagine a company like Apple Rubber who deals in seals, o-rings and other rubber construction parts. Before 3-D printing, you would have to mass produce thousands of one specific part to make the process worthwhile, but now 3-D printing can build only a few dozen at a fraction of the price.
To say that social media has changed small business is a blanket statement, but more interesting is what’s happening with live video through our favorite social networks. Periscope (Twitter), Facebook Live, Instagram Live and Snapchat (which isn’t live but certainly in the moment) gives consumers a real, unfiltered, unedited look into the lives and personalities of the people and businesses they follow.
Men’s shorts company Chubbies knows exactly how to reach millennial men through mediums like Snapchat and live video by posting comical bits, fun giveaways and other content that promotes the culture of the brand. This new video content puts small businesses on the same playing field as larger companies that would otherwise smother the competition with traditional advertising.
This is another tech putting entrepreneurs and small businesses on the same level as large corporations. Running a business used to require an office and server room packed with expensive storage towers, but now it only requires a laptop and Dropbox account.
Cloud storage has been around for the better part of a decade, but its masterful integration into small business applications is what’s making waves in 2017. Everything from Google Docs to Adobe Creative Suite relies on the cloud to function, making the best apps in business accessible to all. Cutting the costs of a physical office and server locations is a huge cash advantage for people starting out and it gives ideas the power to come to life quickly.
It’s still too soon to tell how VR is going to assist entrepreneurs, but it’s a technology that can’t be ignored. With the introduction of the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Playstation VR, it’s about to become a very popular way to consume content — and that means anyone in digital marketing should take notice.
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