10 Things You Missed in Technology

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Here are ten things in technology that happened last month and how they affect your and your clients’ businesses. Did you miss them?

1. Microsoft says its speech recognition is now as good as humans. Based on a study it did, the software giant put its speech recognition technology up against professional transcriptionists. The result? Humans made more mistakes than the software. (Source: VentureBeat).

Why this is important for your business: According to the VentureBeat article, Microsoft has called this a milestone in human parity and believes that it will have “broad implications for consumer and business products that can be significantly augmented by speech recognition.” I don’t doubt that. (My firm is a Microsoft Partner.)

2. A new expense account app will pay your people for underspending. It’s from TravelBank, and it claims it can predict what an employee should be spending on a business trip, help with the accounting and then give cash rewards if they come under budget. (Source: TechCrunch).

Why this is important for your business: This is an app designed for small businesses that can’t afford larger expenses management apps and have a need to better control their travel expenses. Want to guess where the cash is coming from?

3. A new app that’s kind of like Tinder…for professionals. OK – it’s not a hookup app…but it’s close. DineHero promises to help you find other like-minded professionals to eat with so that you can network and make friends. (Source: DineHero).

Why this is important for your business: If your business relies on professional networking, yet you find it hard to make connections, this app will let you find people with shared interests or backgrounds and setup a professional date.

4. Now your employees can quickly see if you’re paying them enough. Recruiting service Glassdoor has released a new tool that lets employees better calculate their “worth.” (Source: Forbes).

Why this is important for your business: In these competitive times, you must be compensating your employees competitively. This tool will help your employees figure out if you’re doing that, and if you’re not, you may lose them.

5. Yelp is now making it easier to manage your online reviews. The company has partnered with review management platform ReviewPush so that you can monitor, engage, analyze, trend and benchmark customer reviews faster and easier. Another benefit of the partnership is that you can monitor your Google, Facebook and Yelp reviews all in one place. (Source: PR Newswire).

Why this is important for your business: Many small businesses rely on Yelp for new customers, and a poor review can have a significant impact on sales. This tool will help you keep better track of your reviews so you can respond and resolve any issues quickly.

6. Facebook announces new features to help small businesses sell more products and services. The social media leader has released updates so that restaurants can receive orders and service providers can accept appointments directly on their Facebook pages and have them land on Microsoft’s new Bookings app that will soon be included with Office 365. It’s also enhanced its ability to make buying recommendations when users ask a question. (Source: Recode and Microsoft Office Blogs).

Why this is important for your business: All these enhancements are free and are designed to not only make it easier for your Facebook customers to do business with you but also to receive new business through recommendations.

7. You will soon be able to receive customer texts directly from a Google ad. Google says that advertisers will soon be able to allow recipients of their ads to send texts with questions directly to the advertiser. (Source: VentureBeat).

Why this is important for your business: When customers see your ad now and they have a question, they have to go searching for ways to contact you – with many losing interest in the process. Allowing them to quickly text their questions right from the ad will solve that problem and hopefully keep customers buying.

8. Uber has a busy month. The company recently delivered beer via driverless truck, is rolling out surge pricing for its food delivery service and announced its vision to introduce flying cars in the next decade.

Why this is important for your business: For two reasons. One: Driverless trucks and even flying cars may be an important part of how your clients transport goods and people in the future, and Uber is taking these technologies very, very seriously. Two: Surge pricing is a model that innovative companies like Uber are using to maximize gross profits on every job – and so should you.

9. You can now track your checked baggage in real time if you fly Delta. Delta Air Lines released a new feature on its app that uses Radio Frequency ID tags to track and give a location for your baggage real time. (Source: Quartz).

Why this is important for your business: Two reasons. One: lost baggage means lost productivity, and this technology will help solve that problem, which makes Delta particularly more attractive to business flyers. Second: this is a great example of how RFID technology is being put to practical use – imagine how it can be used to track your own inventory or people.

10. A GIF-making startup now has 100 million daily users who send 1 billion GIFS each day. Giphy now integrates with Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Slack and other social networks and services and claims it has two-thirds as many users as Snapchat. (Source: Forbes).

Why this is important for your business: I use Giphy and love it. Why? I include funny, pithy, silly and memorable GIFS sometimes in my emails and text messages to clients and employees, and my messages get noticed more. I also have a lot of time on my hands.

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