Here are five developments in technology that you may have missed — and why they’re important for your business and your clients’ businesses.
1. Dropbox has a new collaboration service. From TechCrunch: “Dropbox is going head-to-head against a very popular Web app, Google Docs. Dropbox Paper is a collaborative document editing platform in your browser. It lets you edit a document in real time with your Dropbox contacts.”
Why this is important: Also this past month, Symphony, a messaging startup, received $100 million in funding, and Qip, another startup, landed $30 million to take on Microsoft Office and Google Docs.
Collaboration is hot! Gone are the days of only having mainly one office application suite to choose from. It’s no longer just Microsoft and Google. There are plenty of great office applications that combine collaboration and communication tools to help us be more productive.
2. Amazon is suing fake reviewers. From CNBC: “Amazon.com filed suit against hundreds of people it claims are publishing ‘false, misleading and inauthentic’ reviews on its Web site. The online retailer is pursuing legal action in a Seattle court against 1,114 unnamed defendants ... for creating false reviews for some products for sale. The action appears to be an extension of what the retailer did in April, when Amazon went after a group of Web sites who sold fake reviews.”
Why this is important: Getting good reviews on Amazon (like Yelp and similar review sites) is extremely important to many small merchants and service providers. Sometimes people bend the rules. Don’t bend the rules.
3. Merchants are still not getting the whole EMV chip thing. Per TechCrunch: “Though the U.S. is shifting to EMV-based credit and debit cards, which are more secure than the traditional magnetic stripe cards, there will still be a transitional period where not all customers’ cards have been upgraded to the chip-and-PIN technology, and not all point-of-sale terminals will support EMV transactions. In other words, magstripe transactions will stick around for some time. That, Samsung hopes, will give its mobile payments service the edge in the near-term. ... Samsung Pay offers a way for consumers to pay using their Samsung smartphones via either NFC technology, like the Apple and Google solutions, or by emulating a magnetic stripe card.”
Why this is important: The mobile payments market continues to confuse your clients’ customers. And credit cards, particularly the ones using EMV chips, will continue to be popular for some time. Samsung Pay is a great way for your clients’ businesses to bridge this gap and offer both solutions to your customers.
4. Apple’s business-related revenue hits $25 billion. Per Nasdaq: “Chief executive Tim Cook said Apple’s revenue from its so-called enterprise business reached $25 billion in the 12 months ending in June. ... ‘This is not a hobby,’ said Cook, speaking at a conference organized by business software provider Box Inc. ‘It’s a very small amount compared to what the opportunity is.’ The $25 billion figure represents about 11 percent of Apple’s total revenue in the 12 months ended in June. It would make Apple one of the 10 largest sellers of technology to businesses, and is about half of Microsoft Corp.’s $52 billion in sales to corporate customers during the same period.”
Why this is important: Apple was once just considered a platform for education and artists. But clearly, and now definitively, that is not the case. Of course, the company remains mostly consumer-focused, but growing its segment of business technologies and partnerships is a priority for the company’s CEO. This means more Apple products for the enterprise and more resources and technology options for your business and your clients’ businesses. Meanwhile, Google is now taking on the iPad and Surface with its new Nexus Pro, too, so the battle of business technology continues to widen among the giants.
5. The connected home appliance market in the U.S. is expected to grow at a rate of more than 98 percent over the next five years. A research firm reports: “The report forecasts the connected home appliance market in the U.S. to grow at a CAGR of 98.36 percent over the period 2014-2019. Due to the growing need for programmable thermostats, the shipment of these devices is rapidly increasing in the U.S. Programmable thermostats and zone-based thermostats provide energy-efficient solutions to overcome energy consumption. According to the report, increasing smartphone data usage is expected to immensely contribute to the effective remote-monitoring and controlling of the smart home appliances, and drive the connected home appliance market during the forecast period. Further, the report states that since data is carried over the network, privacy and security remain the critical challenges for the connected home appliances market in U.S.”
Why this is important: That Internet of Things? It’s happening. There are great opportunities for those of us in the technical industry not only on the factory floor, but in homes across the world. Security will also be a big issue and a lucrative field too. So kids … study hard in school and go to good colleges!
Bonus: Oh, by the way — your next battery may be powered by … a mushroom? Per Gizmodo: “The anodes in the lithium ion batteries that charge our devices are made of graphite, a material that’s expensive to produce and leaves a trail of toxic waste along the way. But as researchers are now discovering, portabello mushrooms — biodegradable by nature — might do the job even better. Their molecular structure is sturdy enough to store energy while porous enough to enable efficient energy transfer. And while graphite slowly decays due to electrical damage, the high potassium salt concentration in mushroom skin actually improves its capacity over time. In the future, the humble portabello mushroom might power everything from our smartphones to our cars.”
Why this is important: You and your people depend on so many devices and they all have limited battery power. And this affects productivity and profits. The longer the battery life, the better your business will run, so long live the mushroom!
Besides Accounting Today, Gene Marks writes for The New York Times, Forbes and Inc.com. A version of this column previously appeared on Forbes.com.
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