At the beginning of every year, companies and business news outlets release the trends that were relevant in the past year that predict are going to continue being relevant in the year to come. Many of these trends are related to new and relevant technologies that are improving business processes in innovative ways. However, not all trends are going to be relevant to every company, as every company has their own unique goals, challenges, and needs. Still, it’s important to remain apprised of these trends and take the time and effort to identify which new technologies can provide benefit to your company in the coming year. Let’s break down how to identify relevant trends for better implementation decisions.


 

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How to Determine What Trends are Relevant to You

When determining how technology trends affect your business decisions, the most important question you should ask yourself is, “Which of these trends are relevant to me, my company, and my company’s unique needs?” Finding a way to implement trending technology is a great way to stay on top of the competitive landscape and give your business a competitive advantage, but you should always make sure that the technology you choose to implement makes sense for your company’s current stage and goals. The relevant trends for another company aren’t going to be the same as yours, and the trends that are relevant to you right now might not be the same that are relevant to you in the future.

Some good questions to ask to determine the relevance of a technology trend to the current state of your business operations include:

  • What problems is my business facing? Knowing what problems you’re facing means knowing what kinds of solutions you should be looking for. If a trending technology can be used to solve one or more of your recurring problems, it’s relevant to you.
  • What goals does my company want to achieve? Understanding your company’s goals and how you should be looking to improve right now allows you to determine what technologies might help you along the way. Sometimes, a goal might explicitly be to implement more of a given technology. Other times, a trending technology might be used as a stepping stool toward achieving a goal.
  • Of the currently trending technologies, which ones are readily available? Technology can trend for a number of reasons, at any number of stages. Some currently trending technology may not be readily or affordably available yet. It’s not worth considering technologies that are still in development or still being tested yet; the trends you consider should be the ones concerning technologies that can actually be purchased and used.
  • How much is my company willing to spend on technology solutions? Establishing a budget is another way to practically approach a daunting trend list. By knowing how much your company is willing or able to invest in these solutions, you’ll be able to assess which trending technologies you can currently afford or which ones you might want to put aside money for in the future.

By asking yourself these questions, you can better determine which trends are relevant to your business so that you only spend time looking deeper into the technologies that have the potential to change your business operations for the better. It contextualizes your search and your relationship to technology trends, giving you direction in your research.

Allowing Relevant Trends to Inform Your Business Decisions

Another aspect of assessing technology trends that you should consider is how much you should allow those trends to influence your business decisions. Is it worth it to make decisions based on what’s popular now when something newer will likely appear in the future? This is an easy mental loop to get stuck in, leading you to never invest for fear of missing out on the next big thing. At the same time, it’s easy to jump on the hottest new technology in ways that hinder rather than help your business. While thoroughly researching and asking the above questions should help you avoid this, you still have to be mindful of how and when you choose to use trending technologies.

A good place to start is to rank the relevance of technologies with regards to the priorities that you have identified. Your business may be facing multiple challenges that could utilize multiple trending technologies, but which of those challenges is the most pressing? Is there one that is causing recurring problems within your daily operations? Or is there one that addressing could lead to a rapid increase in revenue? When attempting to answer these questions, it’s important to take the time to truly understand the current trends and their connections to your priorities. You may find that a trending technology does more or less than you thought it would, allowing you to either address multiple issues at once or discard the idea of pursuing that technology to identify one that is more refined and will have greater relevance and value to your needs.

It’s also important to examine the trending technologies in detail. Just because a technology is trending does not mean that it is currently available or practical for even its intended use. It is not unusual for technologies to trend while they are still being developed or perfected; after all, if something is at a given stage of development and it is truly new, people are going to watch closely so that they are able to act as soon as it becomes commercially available. When you look at technology trends, make sure to ascertain whether the technology that is trending is available for purchase or, if it is, if it’s ubiquitous enough that it can be provided at a rate that your company can afford.

Current Technology Trends and What They Mean for Your Business

While your relationship with different trends and their corresponding technologies will depend largely on a healthy combination of your company’s needs, priorities, size, and budget, it’s still possible to follow some general advice about trending technologies and what circumstances they’re best used in. Let’s go over a quick overview of a few current trends and how their corresponding technologies should be approached when considering using them within your business.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence, often shortened to “AI,” is a technology whose mention cannot be avoided in recent years and continues to be at the forefront of discussions concerning technological developments and business solutions. What you need to consider when approaching the idea of incorporating AI into your business practices, however, is that AI comes in many different forms that serve many different purposes and some of these forms are more developed and more readily available than others. In other words, not every technology that can be classified as AI is the same; therefore, not every AI technology will provide the same benefits to your company or address the same needs. This is a technology whose implementation requires deeper research and a willingness to achieve a deeper understanding.

Within the realm of manufacturing and logistics, for instance, generative AI – the types of AI that encompass the creation of text and images, such as ChatGPT, Dall-E, and MidJourney – probably won’t address your most pressing needs. Your most pressing needs, after all, involve a physical process of creating, storing, and/or transporting goods, as well as maintaining your  tools, equipment, and workforce. This does not mean that AI doesn’t have value for your company. Implementing asset tracking or supply chain management solutions that incorporate AI into their reporting and analytics can help you identify potential bottlenecks and other disruptions before they arise, effectively reducing the amount of disruptions that occur by allowing you to address them ahead of time. While this isn’t the type of AI that is spoken about most loudly and most readily, this is the type of AI that can provide the most value to your business, both in terms of problem-solving and ROI.

Automation

Automation is a technology trend that is related to and at times powered by AI, but that is useful to consider separately. Automation encompasses any technology that can operate on its own with little to no input from human operators. The goal of automation is to save time and reduce human error by systematically fulfilling repetitive tasks on the behalf of human workers, freeing them to focus their time and energy on more specialized and fulfilling tasks. This, in turn, results in a quicker and more consistent process with the potential for greater output, revenue, and customer satisfaction. When considering the possibility of automating portions of your daily processes, it’s important to identify which portions that you wish to automate. This decision needs to be based on both what tasks automation is capable of replicating and what tasks will have the greatest impact on your overall business processes.

Returning to the examples of manufacturing and logistics, you might make the decision on what to automate based on what tasks your team usually gets behind on or doesn’t have time for. The curse of simple, seemingly menial tasks is that they often get put off in favor of completing more complex tasks that are more important or fulfilling at first glance. However, getting too far behind on simple tasks often results in eventually having to devote full time and attention to getting caught back up, creating a cycle of getting behind and scrambling to catch up. By implementing automation to fulfill these tasks, this outcome can be avoided. Similarly, it is beneficial to automate tasks that regularly cause bottlenecks or disruptions within your daily processes wherever it is possible. Is there a task that workers struggle to stay caught up on? Is there a task that often seems fraught with human error? These tasks are prime examples of how automation can be implemented to avoid disruptions. For instance, you can use an automated asset tracking system if you often misplace goods or equipment, allowing location to be reported consistently and accurately without the need for human input.

Finding the Solution that Works for You

Link Labs provides an innovative asset tracking solution and IoT platform for manufacturing and logistics that incorporates and takes advantage of many current technology trends, including AI, automation, connective technologies, sensors, and more. Asset tracking can be used to streamline daily operations, helping to prevent and address disruptions and create a less stressful work environment with its enhanced, automated location visibility. Book a demo with our experts today to learn more about how our solution can help you achieve your goals.

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Written by Makenna Dudley

Makenna Dudley is a Marketing Associate for Link Labs, with practical experience in written communications, media writing, and additional forms of content creation. She has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication.

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