2018 Business Technology Outlook

As the Chinese proverb goes, “May you live in interesting times.” When it comes to business technology, interesting doesn’t scratch the surface of the fast-paced evolution of business technology to do things bigger, better, faster.

As IT specialists, we love all things tech-related; here’s a look at a few of the most important business and consumer technologies and iterations to look for in 2018.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is hot, with many applications (current and future) for manufacturing, retailing, transportation, finance, health care, law, advertising, insurance, entertainment, and education … pretty much any industry. Among AI’s uses today are voice recognition, facial recognition, connected homes and smart appliances, drones, robots, and website chat bots.

AI is all around us – even in the commonly used software tools like email and CRM systems that all businesses use today. Ask your employees and managers what commons, simple or time-intensive tasks could be automated, and you will very likely find a plug-in or a program to get it done, saving time and reducing human errors.

Robotics is a growing field—and a concern among workers who fear they might be replaced by this new wave of automation. Like Henry Ford’s once-revolutionary factory production line, robots can supercharge productivity and output, but will the automation of tedious tasks create new, more challenging work for people? Time will tell.

Password management is a big issue that many companies are still not adequately addressing. This is crucial for safeguarding corporate systems, accounts and data against savvy cybercriminal (who themselves use automated AI systems to find and exploit weaknesses in IT systems.)

Are you still saving passwords in an Excel file or on a sticky note? You aren’t alone. But your accounts are at risk.

IND Corporation recommends our client use an enterprise-level password management program to securely store passwords across devices, platforms, and users. Password management software maintains a secure electronic database of all your passwords for your company’s business accounts, like social media accounts, vendor accounts, and dashboards. The system provides access only to those employees who need to access them, so for example, only the finance department has access to bank accounts.

All of your passwords are accessible from anywhere at any time via the password Web portal, so your employees can log in on office desktops, company-issued laptops, or other mobile devices to conduct business without having to remember lengthy or complex passwords, or update them; it’s all done automatically by the system.

Compliance-based cybersecurity measures are becoming more stringent and for good reason. If your organization must comply with PCI, HIPAA or Sarbannes-Oxley standards, take note that there are more auditors checking that compliance standards are being followed—so tighten up your protocols. We’re seeing this is especially true of PCI audits, and companies of all sizes are demanding that their vendors and contractors are using sufficient levels of security in their own businesses.

Autonomous (driverless) cars are not yet a fully driverless reality but predictions are that Level 4 vehicles (fully autonomous in some driving scenarios) will be ready for sale in the next few years and from there we will see Level 5 autonomous vehicles that are completely self-driving all the time. Buckle up!

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) fans will soon have a whole new vista, as VR and AR will become more interactive between users. Rather than a solitary experience, gamers will be able to play and explore communally in those alternate planes of existence. VR and AR has already proved itself useful to the healthcare community, and it also making inroads into the private sector – especially to the engineering and construction community.

Here’s another 2018 tech tip for your NJ business: make sure your IT service partner is really providing everything your company needs, such as 24/7 system monitoring and maintenance, on-site and remote support when you need it, a business continuity plan, and much more.

Whether you have on-site servers or have migrated your computing to the Cloud, have one location or several across New Jersey, IND Corporation’s TotalCare managed IT services plan keeps your computing infrastructure performing at its peak, with greater security and with an eye towards future business goals. Contact us to discuss your IT services needs at 973-947-8045.