When you think about modern technology, you probably picture things like computers, smartphones, and robots. Technology connects you to others, often in ways you never imagined.
We are standing at a crossroads where machine learning, digital technology, and artificial intelligence are coming together in powerful ways to help improve how we perform tasks. Technology has revolutionized the way we interact and has transformed higher education and the way we are learning.
You can even use tools for marketing automation to bring your product to your customers instantly through targeted marketing.
The future is now, and with the advances in technology, the tools you have at your disposal are numerous.
There are many forms of technology, each with its own sets of pros and cons. In this article, you will learn about five types of technology and how you can use them.
Why Technology is Important
The advantages you receive from technology can benefit your business in many ways. The infrastructure put in place will affect your security, efficiency, and customer relationships. Not only this, but it will help you make more money.
Let’s have a look at some benefits in detail.
Communicating with Your Customer
In the world of business, employees need to communicate with customers. Think about your website or social media platform. Your customers can find answers to their questions without phoning you. The information is available all the time because access is not limited to operating hours. Communication technologies also allow you to chat with your customers using fast and cost-effective tools like instant messaging. Using technology to interact with your customers improves communication and ultimately creates a stronger public image.
Technology can help you preserve precious recourses, thereby helping you save money. Traveling to a specific location, such as for a meeting, not only takes time but also costs you money. Think of all the time and money you could save by conducting meetings using video conferencing technology instead.
In today’s world, there is a constant threat to a business’s security, from both competitors and criminals alike. A breach in security can have a catastrophic impact on the confidence people have in your business. Technology helps keep your business systems safe by protecting financial data, your customer’s confidential information, and business strategies. If leaked, this could cause irreparable damage to your organization.
For your business to not only survive but thrive, you must find new opportunities. With the ability to research new prospects, your business will stay a step ahead of the competition. You can virtually travel to new markets without having to spend thousands of dollars on travel and accommodation.
5 Types of Technology
The innovation in and evolution of the tech industry has brought about many technology tools. The benefits are numerous and can make a massive difference in the way you do business or interact with the world. Let’s look at five types of technology available to you today.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is when machines (especially computers) simulate human intelligence, such as the ability to reason, learn, and solve problems. Sometimes it takes on a physical form like robotics, but most often, it’s embedded into software.
The goal of AI is to develop computers that can walk, talk, feel, see, hear, and even have feelings and think for themselves. People fear that AI will replace the need for humans in the workplace. But the purpose of AI is to improve products and services and assist you in working with the system to become more productive, not to replace you. The following types of artificial intelligence are the most common.
Expert systems are computer programs that simulate human or organizational behavior. These systems have specialist knowledge and experience in a specific field. Typically, an expert system has access to a vast knowledge base of information and human experience. By applying particular rules (inference) to this information, it can reason and can come up with answers or solutions to complex problems. An excellent example of an expert system is CaDet, a computer-based support system that assists in the early detection of cancer.
The advantage of expert systems are as follows:
- Their accessibility costs are low
- They give you a swift response
- They are not biased by human emotions
- Their error rate is low
- They can explain how they reached their solutions
Voice recognition is when a machine or program can comprehend and execute verbal commands. It allows users to interact with technology by merely talking to it. How does it work? The software requires the conversion of analog audio into binary (i.e., digital) signals, a process referred to as analog-to-digital conversion. Practical examples you might have experienced already are Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.
There are numerous practical applications of such voice recognition systems:
- Talking to Robots: Robots are increasingly being used to perform roles typically performed by humans. Businesses are starting to explore how to use robots and software to conduct initial job interviews. Considering that an interview is a conversation, the robot needs to be able to interpret what you are saying.
- Controlling your Digital Devices: Digital personal assistants, like Google home, require verbal communication between you and a computer.
- Aiding People with Disabilities: People who are visually impaired may rely on screen readers and text-to-speech dictation systems. For the hearing-impaired, converting audio into text can be an invaluable tool for communication.
- Hands-Free Technology: When your hands and eyes are busy with something like driving your car, speech becomes incredibly useful. The ability to communicate with, say, Google Maps, reduces the need to pull over to read a map or ask for directions.
Voice Recognition is already part of your everyday life. Some day you will be able to talk to your computer the same way you talk to other people. This field will create new jobs and new applications that could streamline your business in unimagined ways.
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Machine vision gives computers the ability to see by using one or more cameras using analog-to-digital conversion and signal processing. Sensitivity (the ability to see in dim light) and resolution (picture quality) are the two most essential factors in vision systems. The benefit of such systems is their scope. Unlike the human eye, video cameras are sensitive to a much broader range of wavelengths being able to see infrared, ultraviolet, and X-rays. Machine vision systems rely on sensors inside cameras that have specialized optics to acquire images. These sensors give computer hardware and software the ability to process, analyze, and measure different characteristics and draw conclusions. Machine vision has many benefits. It is safe and can reduce costs, downtime, and human error.
Because of their versatility, their uses include, but are not limited to, skills such as
- The analysis of electronic components
- Signature identification
- Recognizing handwriting
- Object and pattern recognition
- Inspecting material or currency
- Analyzing medical images
Assistive Technology (AT) is any software, device, or equipment that helps people work around challenges, such as disabilities. It helps them learn, communicate, and function better. It allows them to interact with the world as these devices become their eyes, ears, and voice.
An example is a wheelchair that helps someone become mobile and independent; the use of whiteboards and screen readers can do the same. As you can see, not all AT tools are high-tech; it could be as simple as a pencil grip. It can also be as complicated as touchscreen displays or software that can read a text to you. Other complex solutions are text-to-speech, dictation, and word prediction—invaluable tools in the world of education.
In education, the law requires that schools accommodate children with disabilities in the classroom. To mee this requirement, assistive technologies should be made available to students and teachers. Similarly, in the workplace, the law requires that anyone capable of performing a job (regardless of disability) should have access to technologies that can assist them.
Finding the Type of Assistive Technology That Is Right for You
There are many AT tools available, and you could be overwhelmed while trying to find the one that is right for you. Look for technology that targets your specific struggle and works with technologies you may already have. If you have access to smartphones or digital tablets, you can use apps that assist with things like reading, organizational skills, note-taking, self-control, meditation, educational challenges, and improved learning.
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The arrival of wireless technology, smartphones, social networking sites, and chat apps changed the way people communicate in the workplace. A technologically connected and collaborative office is now the norm. Without the need to be physically present, you can more easily engage in meaningful work at more convenient times. For example, you can
- Send emails or use instant messaging;
- Text, video chat, or video conference with social networking applications like WhatsApp and Skype; and
- Keep in touch across distances (even face-to-face) with colleagues through video chats and conferences.
Technology completely changed the way we collaborate. It helps connect people anywhere and at any time. This results in a high level of flexibility, allowing employees, colleagues, and management to connect easily. Leaders can manage their teams better by staying in touch, and customers will stay informed on any progress you make.
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing and hosted services over the internet. It includes services like storage, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence. You can choose between either private cloud services or the public cloud model. Or you can select a combination called a hybrid cloud. Let’s look at some reasons why your business should use cloud services.
It is Cost-Effective
Cloud computing eliminates the cost involved with buying the hardware and software you need to set up an on-site datacenter. Besides that, you cut the cost you would have spent on electricity (to run and cool the servers) as well as the IT staff to manage the system. Cloud computing services are maintained and upgraded regularly to the latest generation of fast and efficient hardware, so you do not have to worry about maintenance.
Cloud storage makes data available to everyone without needing to be in one geographic location.
Most cloud providers offer a broad set of technologies and controls that will strengthen your security and protect your data from possible threats.
With the click of a mouse, you can gain access to vast amounts of computing resources in minutes. This gives your business flexibility and takes the pressure off when planning capacity.
On-site data centers need a lot of maintenance by IT. Using cloud computing removes the need for your IT teams to spend time on this and gives them more time to achieve business goals.
It Is Reliable
The cloud computing company takes care of data backups and disaster recovery for you. You can continue doing business without the worry of downtime due to data failures or breaches.
Augmented Reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment that allows you to interact and influence what you see and experience. You can use AR to visualize products and imagine how it might feel to own it or to experience a service before you buy it.
Here are some real applications of AR that you can use today:
- The Gatwick airport passenger app allows you to use your mobile phone to navigate through the airport.
- The Ikea Place app lets you scan your room and place their furniture virtually, allowing you to see if it would work in the space before you purchase it.
- The Dulux Visualiser allows you to paint your room virtually to see what color works for you.
- If you’re considering a makeover, Sephora has a cosmetics app that allows you to try new looks virtually.
Why AR Works for your Business
These apps get developed at a rapid pace and bring a positive effect on many industries. Because your customer can experience your product and service upfront, it helps to increase sales. In this economy, people are money-wise. Having the ability to experience what you have to offer before putting the dough down not only has a significant effect on your bottom line, it has a positive impact on your company image.
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Keep Up with Technology or Be Left Behind
This article only scratches the surface of what is possible when using technology. Technology can help you make more money, streamline your business, increase productivity, and improve communication, to name a few.
You might be scared of technology, but the reality is that you need to embrace it and use it, or you will be left behind and become an artifact. We live in a fantastic time where anything is possible and the sky is the limit.
What tech do you think will work for your business? Does technology excite and inspire you to try new things? What can you do today to introduce technology to your own work-life?
We look forward to your comments and feedback.
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