By Raviraj Hegde

The business world has evolved over the years and technology has had a great share of responsibility in the evolution of the commercial sector. Emerging technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, blockchain technology, augmented reality, 3D printing and others offer new opportunities for businesses. Many businesses are yet to embrace these novel technologies. However, there is a vast potential that awaits businesses that apply these technologies to their processes.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging technology that involves the use of a VR headset with which the user is wholly immersed in a virtual environment. Virtual reality is a new frontier in business marketing. Companies can advertise their products in a seemingly realistic manner. This allows the consumer to have a better appreciation of the product features. It might even be as simple as an ad banner displayed at the corner of the screen which disappears after a few seconds.

There are a lot of possible scenarios where virtual reality can be used. For instance, NASA had an event fair in 2016 to showcase their rocket technology. It would have been impractical to transport the spaceship to the venue of the event. Then, NASA came up with the idea of using VR to have a virtual tour of the inside of the spaceship. Virtually every business will find VR a useful tool for its progress. With VR, potential property buyers and home seekers can have a virtual tour of the apartment they are interested in. This is a revolutionary step in the real estate industry. Car manufacturing companies can also bring VR into organizing a successful exhibition event. Exhibition participant will be shown how the car is made and the inner workings of the car with a VR headset.

VR can also be used for corporate presentations. An immersive, interactive and exciting presentation is possible with virtual reality. The downside to the use of Microsoft PowerPoint and other printed materials is that it can get a little boring. Last year, Intel held a live presentation where the audience members were requested to put on a VR headset. They were all physically present at the event, but they were immersed in a virtual environment. This allowed Intel to add digital objects and enhancements to make the presentation livelier and fun. Not too many companies have embraced virtual reality, particularly outside the tech sector. The prospect is perfect for companies who are among the firsts to embrace virtual reality.

Artificial Intelligence

From Alexa to Siri, artificial intelligence (AI) is a novel technology that is transforming our world today. Although the concept of AI was first mentioned in the 1950s, it is no longer an element of the dystopian future. AI technology is here to stay, and it has the potential of taking many businesses off the ground. The International Data Corporation estimates that AI spending will reach about $52.2 billion dollars by 2021. It was also reported that retail services firms would spend more than banking institution on artificial intelligence services by the end of this year. An investment of about 3.4 billion dollars will be made this year by retail companies on automated customer services agent, shopping advisors and product recommendation, among a wide range of AI applications.

Artificial intelligence has been put into use by Amazon where a profile is created based on your preferences and displays products similar to your likings. Chatbot is another AI application that is increasingly used on e-commerce sites and messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Telegram for marketing and customer services. There is a big call for concern that AI technology will prompt the loss of many jobs. However, experts state that new jobs will be created in place of the jobs that have been lost to AI technology. On the same note, AI technology allows for automation of routine jobs while employees focus on providing higher valued inputs to the organization.

Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology is gradually revolutionizing every facet of business operation. Since Satoshi Nakamoto published Bitcoin in 2009, Blockchain has experienced its downs and lows. Many people might associate blockchain technology with nefarious commercial activities. However, entrepreneurs and innovators have taken a second look at blockchain and have begun to see blockchain technology as one that has a positive impact on the commercial scene. The social media age gave rise to web 2.0 with companies like Facebook, Google and Uber starting up as a result. It is now time to move on to web 3.0 which will be facilitated by blockchain technology. In this third web generation, there will be an introduction of more distributed applications. With its decentralized and security feature, blockchain technology is the next big thing.

According to Juniper Research, marketers will lose 19 billion dollars by the end of 2019 and likely to reach 44 billion dollars by 2022. Blockchain Technology can assist in decreasing the “cost per click” racketeering and making sure that the target audience is conveniently reached. In the nearest future, blockchain technology will be highly sought after in the area of human resource management.

The Society of Human Resources Management believes that blockchain technology will revolutionize hiring, leaving more room for human resource personnel to quickly authenticate credentials of job seekers and staffers in the organization. Blockchain technology will also find its use in payroll systems of many business organizations, especially multinational companies where there are employees of various nationalities within their ranks. This technology streamlines and systematizes payments made in different currencies. Aside the aforementioned, there are many opportunities offered by blockchain technology. This relatively new technology has gathered a lot of fans, despite the seeming animosity of top business organizations.

3D Printing

We have moved past the days of Guttenberg printing machines and the days when printing ink on paper alone is slowly getting past us. 3D printing is a novel technology that might have sounded like a sci-fi idea a couple of years ago. However, 3D printing is now a reality. There are few things more exciting than having a body part replicated with the exact shape and look. 3D printers can do the same for thousands of other material items of various materials and sizes.

By 2020, it is anticipated that 3D printing will generate about 8.6 billion dollars with a compound annual growth rate of 21% between 2015 and 2020. There is a very great prospect for 3D printing, and there are lots of business opportunities available to entrepreneurs, especially in the manufacturing sector. The aerospace, defense, automotive, healthcare sectors amongst others will also find 3D printing very useful. 3D printing will help to reduce the risk of manufacturing errors, permit the effective utilization of raw materials and efficient use of time and financial resources. These benefits of 3D printing provide entrepreneurs and innovators who key into this relatively new technology with greater opportunities than most of their counterparts.

More and more businesses are placing more emphasis on driving their growth with these emerging technologies. It will be worthwhile for entrepreneurs to get their businesses running with these technologies as a backbone to their operations. Over the years, there have been more entrepreneurs worth millions of dollars. These entrepreneurs were caught up in the web of technological advancement, and this allowed their businesses to be at the forefront in terms of economic value. Therefore, there is a near certainty that business growth will be boosted as a result of paying more attention to the technological need of a business organization.