As 2017 approaches, it can be a fun to look back at the year that was, especially in the area of business technology. While 2016 was a year of ups and downs for business technology, it was always interesting, leading to some truly exciting developments that will continue well into 2017 and beyond.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things, or IoT, was a term that generated a lot of attention this past year. The concept of IoT is to join smart devices and make life easier to manage.  The year 2016 saw to it that IoT users could adjust room temperatures from watches and open garage doors from tablets.  

While smart devices make everyone’s lives easier, their use in the DDoS attack made it clear that they should be used with caution, particularly in business applications. Your IT team needs to be ready to incorporate smart devices directly into your business’s network and ensure that your network security is ready to handle them.

Big Data

For those that are familiar with business technology, ‘big data’ is a well-known concept. However, in 2016 big data could finally be utilized by smaller businesses thanks to advances in technology. Data visualization software has advanced to the point that you don’t need data scientists and a team of experts to understand and make use of information.

In addition, when you combine data visualization with cloud business intelligence applications, you get meaningful data from which users can form accurate and actionable conclusions.

Autonomous Agents

This past year also saw major advances in smart machine implementation. Virtual personal assistants and smart advisers were a hot trend this year, with many companies offering this exciting technology.

With simple voice control, you can ask Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa a question and these virtual assistants can find you an answer. Google might be a bit late to the party, but your Google Assistant can answer questions, accomplish tasks and assist your life. Virtual assistants can also work with the connected devices in your home or office to download reports or change the temperature.

This year also saw major advances in how we may interact with our technology in the foreseeable future. Instead of typing and using menus, we will just speak to our devices and they will respond based on our needs.

3D Printing and Materials

In the past, manufacturing required large, specialized equipment in big factories dedicated to the task. Now, however, manufacturing can be done at a much lower scale thanks to the advent of 3D printing.

Although 3D printing has been around for a while, it became more accessible in 2016 due to advances in materials. Even though most small businesses could afford a small 3D printer, it would have provided only limited usefulness. Modern 3D printers have grown to be able to use carbon fiber, nickel alloys and even electronics, increasing their usability and making them an enticing option for many businesses.

These advances will drive the ability of small businesses to compete with larger ones in terms of specialty parts. Supply chain processes as well as assembly lines may be opened up to smaller companies who, in the past, didn’t have the capital to compete.

Need IT Support in Stamford?

Do you need help implementing some or all of these technologies in your small business? Why not trust the experts at U.S. Computer Connection to help? Contact us today to see how we can make your business run even better!