5 tech trends small businesses need to watch for in 2018
Bitcoin, AI, VR, Fintech, sharing platforms. You have probably heard of all of these terms in the ne
Online & Tech
When the subject of Artificial Intelligence crops up in conversation, images of flying robots enslaving humanity, particularly in popular dystopian films such as The Matrix and Terminator, won’t be far from the conversation. Maybe, someone might mention how AI will end up taking people’s jobs, leaving half of the human race unemployed in some Mad Max-esque barren wasteland.
Fortunately the apocalypse is not around the corner. In fact, AI is changing the world, and in particular the way that we do business, in so many different ways.
Handling queries during office hours only are now a thing of the past. Customer queries can now be handled 24/7 from anywhere in the world. Chatbots can be integrated into your website and can answer and handle many issues via live chat.
Whilst a chatbot may not have the intuitive nature of a human, it can provide a customer information and make recommendations based on their activity on your website. All this means is that you can go home at night after a long day and the chatbots can help you in the meantime.
One of the most complex issues that exist in today’s multifaceted digital age is the risk of cyber attacks from hackers. And whilst there are people who work as Cyber Security professionals, it can be tricky to always be on top of the variety of Malware attacks hackers can use to breach websites - potentially wreaking havoc. Fortunately, variants of AI (referred to as Machine learning) can combat these malicious attacks. Machine learning is capable of predicting an attack before it occurs - making the idea of Cyber Security less reactive. Companies like Dark Trace and Alien Vault are championing this technology. For a small business with a website, this could decrease the opportunities of nefarious hackers going into your site and causing damage.
The potential of AI in this particular area is enormous. Online retailers are now better able to redirect customers to products that they are more likely to purchase. This is already being done by outdoor retailer North Face. According to an article in Forbes, their new IBM supercomputer is providing customers with a much more bespoke user experience: “If a customer says they like to hike in the winter, the program would ask questions about their location and preferences to recommend a jacket that will keep them warm and work with their preferred activities. Instead of sorting through hundreds of products to find the right one, the bot makes the choice much easier.” If this is the future, it will mean less scrolling and more buying - which is great news if your business has an e-commerce site.
Machine learning systems are far more capable of grasping complex pieces of data than an average person ever could. This means that you can now get digestible data and insights from platforms like Google Analytics far quicker than you would if you went through it manually. There are many systems out there, which can give you vital insights on your customers but at a cost. If you already use Google Analytics, then you are in luck - as they recently created a new feature called Analytics Intelligence. This new part of their service allows a user to ask basic questions regarding site behaviour. For example, you can ask a question like “How many users were there yesterday?” or “What is the average time on page for desktop?”. Instantly, you can get the important answers - providing users with easy access to key site data.