The PC Support Group Managing Director, Phil Bird, shares his 5 technology trend predictions for UK small businesses in 2013.
1. 4G will move up the business agenda
At the end of October 2012 the next generation of mobile telecoms was launched in eleven cities with EE’s 4G network. After the Ofcom 4G auctions at the start of 2013 other operators will start to roll out their networks and the new technology should cover 98% of the country by the end of 2014. 4G will offer true mobile broadband with speeds equal to or greater than fixed line. People will be able to work more ‘on the move’, able to access the internet and their business systems from anywhere. For small businesses this flexibility could be the key to increasing productivity and efficiency.
2. System monitoring and “self-healing” systems
In a tough market businesses need to think smarter and be more efficient. Key to this is moving to proactive IT support, where the latest technology allows you to work on systems before they go wrong, to send alerts flagging potential issues and to even create self-correcting routines. This is clever ‘new generation’ IT support helps deliver greater “up time” and drive increased productivity.
3. The Cloud and MS Office 365
Various cloud services and in particular MS Office 365 represent a great opportunity for small businesses, enabling them to utilise technology previously out of their reach. Utilising cloud technology can save on the cost of purchasing equipment, improve flexibility, robustness and mobility. However, businesses shouldn’t migrate blindly. Like investing in any technology, businesses should work with experts to ensure they get what’s right for them.
4. Tablet computing
As tablets become cheaper and mobile access speeds increase, more businesses will start to incorporate the use of tablets into their everyday working practices. Given the challenges with compatibility, cost and security, businesses will need to consider all the pros and cons before investing.
5. Windows 8
The jury’s out on Microsoft’s new operating system but one way or another it will impact businesses in 2013. Even if it’s not widely accepted it will shape software and operating systems in the future. It’s a shift from the way previous versions worked (focusing on touch screen technology) and will take a little time for apps to be released that properly utilise it. Most businesses would be wise to wait until the first major bug fix is released before considering a move to the new operating system. The big differences in the interface also mean that time and money will be required to retrain staff following any move.