Four Key Innovations to Consider When Investing in Digital Techby Courtney Myers Professional Writer and Editor
It’s difficult to find an industry untouched by the proliferation of digital technology. From the healthcare and medical fields to the Food and Beverage (F&B) sphere, it seems that almost everywhere you look, businesses are finding new ways and new tools to make even the most rote and routine processes simpler and quicker than ever before. As such, it comes as no surprise that around 22% of the world’s economy is now dedicated to digital capital.
With that much invested in forward-thinking technology, it stands to reason that we should be rounding the corner on new investments. Yet, experts predict that we aren’t even close to scratching the surface on what we can discover and create. If you’re new to this realm and unsure where to begin, you’re not alone. Making the transition from outdated legacy systems to a smart system-enabled workforce is no simple or easy feat, though it can be indelibly worth it.
That’s why it’s helpful to break down the overwhelming influx of information into a few key areas of investment worth considering. Not every tool will be applicable to every company across every industry, and that’s part of what makes the initial research process so difficult to dig through. Still, executives in companies around the world, from the big league players to up-and-coming SMBs still finding their footing, can and should take a look at how digital technology can change their operations for the better. Here are four smart places to start.
1. Open-Source Systems
Traditionally, companies resisted delivering and distributing open-source versions of their software. However, a few years ago the outlook shifted and a move that once brought hesitancy is now quickly becoming commonplace. What shifted the perspective? It all started with the Linux operating system. Recognizing the open source platform’s major success, other companies began to follow suit. In fact, research reveals that over a recent three-year period, 180 young companies raised a collective $3.2 billion after publicly sharing their software.
Systems like Arduino are also changing the game. A relative newcomer to the open source industry, Arduino is a microprocessor that operates in the hardware field versus the software one. Users can operate the program to create and release new projects, while bypassing the red tape of copyright constraints that previously confined their ideas. Now, everything from lasers and 3-D printers to security system and motion detectors can be developed with ease. Judging from forecasts, it doesn’t look as though open source technology will be taking a back seat anytime, soon, making it a viable investment with a proven ROI.
2. Virtual Reality
In the world of tech, arguably no innovation is hotter at the moment than virtual reality and its cousin counterpart, augmented reality. Put simply, virtual reality allows users to put on a headset or similar device and feel “transported” to a different place, allowing them to perform functions that would otherwise prove impossible in their current environment. For instance, many real estate professionals use VR headsets to allow prospective homebuyers the opportunity to “walk” around a home as if they were really in the rooms, even if they’re across the country from the property.
One of the most recent applications of VR in business has been the deployment of gaming technology. It only takes one look at the success of Pokemon Go to understand the craze. Simply wearing the equipment, players could enter into the interactive experience and bond over shared discoveries. Moving forward, the integration of VR and AR technology in the business is a likely next step, allowing it to shift from being a gaming industry mainstay into a mainstream corporate offering.
3. Artificial Intelligence
It’s no longer the stuff of the Jetsons. Rather, AI is slowly seeping into almost every industry sector around the world, changing the way humans perform even the most mundane daily routines. Yet, it’s not without its controversy. As innovators continue to push the limits on what machines are capable of, issues are swirling around the morality of the concept. Yet, it cannot be overlooked that AI investment has reached record highs recently and as such, is one of the hottest digital tech investments around.
Common applications include smart home technologies, which utilize AI to help regulate a property’s thermostat, secure the grounds, and even start the coffeemaker in the morning. At its core, the crux of AI are machine-learning processes that eliminate the need for human interference. Powered by pre-programmed algorithms that “sense” an environment and respond accordingly, it’s the type of smart software that could revolutionize entire industries. Moving forward, look for the innovation to help power hardware and software across myriad application, industries, and sectors.
4. Learning Software
Entire school systems are eliminating paper-based textbooks, allowing students to learn on tablets instead. If this sounds like a move straight from the future, you’d be correct, though it’s not as revolutionary as one might imagine. The goal is to make learning accessible to all students, regardless of their economic state, geographical location, or schedule. As such, it’s now possible to hop online and attend virtual courses on your own time, modernizing the education system and widening its student base.
From classroom discussions to examinations, there’s virtually no limit to the instructional materials that can be distributed via the digital realm. As mobile learning apps continue to grow in popularity, students who couldn’t afford traditional degree routes now have access to myriad resources at the tap of a screen. In fact, Ivy-league universities including Yale and Harvard even offer a select number of free and open courses that allow anyone to join in on introductory lessons. As such, the number of student loans and other financial aid programs could see a downturn as alternative learning opportunities are pursued.
Investing Wisely in 2018 and Beyond
As you continue to build your investment portfolio, you’ve likely included a mix of spending focuses, from marketing to employee development. It’s important to make room for digital tech spend as well, considering that successful businesses in the near future will be those that embrace, rather than shy away from, the application of innovation in their field. True, not every invention or development will be an ideal fit and there may be some flops along the way, but the overall outlook is that investing in technology isn’t a long shot. It’s one of the most valuable resources executives across industry sectors have access to, and should be taken seriously.
Created on Apr 12th 2018 15:01. Viewed 594 times.