Heard of 3D printing? Sure you have! They're those whiz bang
machines that build little models which you see at your kids'
school's open day to prove how tech savvy the school is. But
did you know there is an Australian tech startup whose capability
of 3D printing rocket engines has attracted interest from NASA?
How about the internet? "Um, Yes" I hear you say?
"I can click on the Safari icon thank you very much!"
Well then, how about the Internet of Things? By 2020, it is
estimated that between 25 million and 50 million physical objects
will be connected and able to interact with the Internet. We're
not talking just your table or smartphone. Everything from your
(soon to be driverless) car, your home appliances, through to city
infrastructure and industrial equipment will be able to receive and
monitor data from the net and react appropriately.
Holograms? They've been talking about that since Star Trek
in the 1960s. It'll never happen. Well, as it happens, Kevin
Spacey appear in November, via hologram, at the Australian National
Conference for Superannuation Funds in Brisbane.
It is trite to say that technology changes fast, but the digital
revolution is throwing up challenges for business as well, and on a
scale that has not been seen before. Below are just a couple of
"must know" technology topics for business.
Until now, many businesses have been wary of using cloud
services, mainly on account of reliability and security concerns.
But this seems to be changing, with leading analyst Gartner
predicting spending on cloud infrastructure to increase by 32.8% in
"The cloud", in its simplest form, represents
outsourced IT infrastructure. That is, you are using servers owned
by someone else, housed in a data centre somewhere, rather than
servers you own which sit in your office. That is what is meant by
the term "IaaS" (Infrastructure as a Service), but there
are other types of cloud offering, such as "SaaS"
(Software as a Service), where you effectively access a
vendor's software over the internet, rather than download it to
your servers. Microsoft Office 365, for example, allows SaaS access
to many of Microsoft's well known software applications.
While the scalability and cost effectiveness of cloud services
are hard to dispute, concerns about potential downtime and allowing
sensitive data into the control of others, sometimes in unknown
locations, is understandable.
However, many commentators now say that the cloud is often more
reliable and secure than on premise hardware. Massive cloud
providers like Amazon, Microsoft and Google live or die by their
reputations and invest huge sums of money on fail safes for their
data centres, including data encryption, backup power sources and
physical security, far more than the average business could spend
in comparison. Most standard cloud data storage arrangements are
unlikely to constitute a "disclosure" under Australian
privacy laws, so regulatory concerns can be less significant than
you might think.
DISRUPTION, DISRUPTION EVERYWHERE!
At the time of writing, the UberX ride sharing service had just
been legalised in New South Wales and Western Australia. This
epitome of disruptive business models has not only reshaped the
market, but forced regulatory change to legitimise itself.
The disruptive influences of technology are being felt from
Airbnb in the accommodation sector, to roboadvice businesses in
wealth management, but we are seeing it affect our clients across
all industries. And it is not just tech startups who can innovate.
Remember Nokia and Blackberry?
Companies with huge resources who lost their market leading
position, not to upstarts like Uber, but to established rivals
Apple and Samsung. Established businesses ignore the potential
impact of new technology on their markets at their peril, but the
likes of Apple show that mature businesses can innovate, despite
the inertia that sometimes comes with size, regulatory obligations
and complex corporate governance.
So start thinking disruptively. If this doesn't come
naturally, then there is plenty of literature out there to get the
mental juices flowing,. We recommend an article published by the
Business Insider Australia, entitled "The 8 ways to
disrupt traditional businesses and steal markets".
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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