Technological upgrades can make your small business more productive and able to meet customer needs. If you’re unsure which tech advancements make the most sense for your company, these suggestions could help you make more confident choices.
1. New Computers
Regardless of the kind of business you have, workers probably use computers often while completing their tasks. Outdated models could create preventable issues for your enterprise.
For example, an obsolete computer may be a security risk, mainly if you can no longer update it. Companies eventually stop releasing updates or providing technical support for machines with older operating systems. That makes them more vulnerable to security threats, especially as cybercriminals find weaknesses in them. Older computers can also hinder the workflow, especially if they run slowly or crash often.
When shopping for new computers, research aspects such as memory, storage and processor type to determine which best meet your needs. If you buy laptops for your business, pay attention to battery life, and consider whether you may want a model that converts into a tablet for better portability.
2. Virtual Reality Equipment and Apps
You may initially associate virtual reality (VR) with consumer gaming, but the technology has exciting potential for businesses, too. That’s because companies can take their clients anywhere with VR apps. For example, if you specialize in travel booking, you could take people to potential destinations, helping them choose where to go on their next vacation. If your company offers home remodeling services, you could show people finished versions of their projects before work begins.
VR minimizes business travel, too. Some apps make people feel they are in the room with their colleagues, despite being on different continents. You could also visit virtual versions of office spaces before leasing or buying them. Since some companies also bring VR into e-commerce, you could go to a showroom or shopping center to buy things without leaving home.
As you learn about VR equipment, keep compatibility in mind. A VR headset that has been on the market for years likely offers more versatility than one that only came out last month. That’s because app developers usually cater to large segments of the marketplace with their creations. After settling on what to buy, give your team plenty of time to adjust to the VR technology and figure out the most effective ways to use it.
3. A Security System
Installing a security system at your business can provide welcome peace of mind. Besides alerting you to break-ins, this kind of technology can offer better overall visibility. For example, if a customer complains that they slipped on the sidewalk outside your company, reviewing the security system’s footage can verify what happened and help you stop it from occurring again.
Many security systems automatically notify the authorities if an alarm sounds. That often means they arrive faster and minimize the overall damage associated with the event. Some options also have artificial intelligence (AI) features. They learn to tell the difference between human intruders attempting to get into a building and animals trying to open garbage cans. Those advancements could reduce false alarms.
Security systems help employees, customers and visitors feel more at ease, too. They’ll see that you care about keeping people safe, giving them a positive impression. Plus, since many offerings have user interfaces you can access from anywhere, you can keep an eye on your business and watch the camera feeds while at home or traveling.
4. Military-Grade Electronics
Perhaps your business requires people to work outside often and use laptops and smartphones while performing their duties. In that case, military-grade electronics could be especially smart investments. The capabilities of products in that category vary. However, some can operate underwater or sustain significant impacts, making them rugged choices.
Consider how these investments could make your company better able to respond during crises. Suppose a hurricane hits your area, and your business has resources to help. Your team members may contribute to the rescue and recovery efforts more capably, knowing that their tough electronics can handle any lingering bouts of inclement weather.
You may also find that military-grade electronics are better for your budget in the long run, even if they cost more upfront. If your construction company’s team members often break their work-issued smartphones when they fall from their pockets at heights, military-grade electronics may lead to fewer replacements. When purchasing these products, always keep the typical work conditions in mind. For example, is a phone more likely to get wet or dropped? Use that information to guide your purchases.
5. Cloud Storage
Many of today’s businesses have far more digital documents than physical ones. If that’s the case for yours, cloud storage could be a smart tech upgrade. It keeps all your records in a centralized location so authorized users can access them. You can even share information in the cloud with clients, such as to update them on projects or get their input on work completed so far.
Since cloud services let people log in from anywhere on various devices to access stored content, employees can stay productive while working remotely. Most cloud storage providers also automatically maintain backups of your information as part of their core services. That way, if someone accidentally deletes crucial material, you can restore it with a few clicks.
When you look into cloud storage options, consider going with one that lets you upgrade as needed. Then, if your company expands or starts storing larger files, you won’t worry about running out of space. Also, verify what security safeguards the company uses to keep your files safe from breaches. If you’re on a tight budget, cloud storage is often cheaper when paid for by the year rather than month to month.
6. A Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat can help you save money on utility bills. Some models recommend what temperature to keep it set at for maximum savings, which removes the guesswork. Other types can sense when people come into or leave a room, then adjust accordingly.
Another benefit of smart thermostats is that they may let you designate specific zones. That way, if some people prefer cooler rooms and others like more warmth, you can cater to everyone. Since most smart thermostats connect to apps, you can also adjust the temperature without being inside your business.
As you shop for smart thermostats, it’s wisest to narrow your choices to those intended for commercial use. Many of the models made for consumers may not meet a business’s needs, especially if you have a large space or one with lots of rooms. Look for products that give you statistical breakdowns of usage, too. You can then make more decisive choices about how to keep costs down while ensuring everyone stays comfortable.
Tech Advancements Can Make Your Business More Competitive
These investments can help you have a more productive workforce while improving your engagement with people who rely on your company’s services. As you finalize how to spend your money, try to have a long-term viewpoint. When you consider how specific technologies could help your company grow and seem more attractive, it’ll be easier to justify putting money toward these improvements.