Although there will undoubtedly be a number of new technology advances this year, 2016 will also be marked by the maturation of a number of older ‘inventions’. Lower costs and increased availability means that several technologies will reach the mass market, helping late adopters catch up.
Expansion of Cloud usage
Hosted software and services are already well established in most businesses – whether they realise it or not. Some estimates suggest that the average business already uses around 1100 Cloud applications.
That said, Cloud services will continue to become a strategic asset, allowing businesses to expand and contract as required, to remain competitive. For SMEs, 2016 will be the year that Cloud becomes the default choice for new systems as they try to better manage costs and flexibility.
The Cloud industry itself will undergo some changes as the European Union releases an updated ruling on the legality of the Safe Harbor agreement. This could see many providers forced to build new EU data centers, potentially forcing up the cost of using Cloud software, but offering better protection for corporate data in return.
IoT goes mainstream
The Internet of Things offers businesses the chance to better understand exactly how they operate, using WiFi-enabled sensors to monitor virtually every operation. From the progress of stock through a warehouse, to the temperature and lighting at head office, businesses can ‘see’ what is happening, and how each variable affects productivity. Using this information, businesses have the opportunity to improve their operations and profit margins.
The cost of IoT means that up until now it has been the preserve of large, cash-rich enterprises. But maturing technologies mean that cost of sensors and software continues to fall, allowing businesses of all sizes to get involved. 2016 will be the year that IoT finally breaks into the mainstream SME market.
Increased business use of personal devices
Employees now want to be able to access corporate systems and data from their personal smartphones and tablets, to better manage their own workloads. Expect to receive a rush of requests from employees keen to connect their brand new devices to the company network when they return from the Christmas break.
Fortunately Cloud services make it much easier to fulfill these requests and to keep company data safe in the process. You will also find that helping employees get connected yields a range of benefits – including less absence caused by sickness.