Episode 13 of the Coder's Block podcast out now

In the world of business, new companies must gain every inch of inside track available to them to gain a competitive edge. The explosion of digital technologies over the past couple of decades has given businesses ample opportunities to refine and expand their operations and processes but these technologies have also proven themselves to be a double edged sword. While they’ve given entrepreneurs new opportunities, they’ve afforded those same opportunities to their competitors. Nonetheless, technology is only ever as good as the people who wield it, and recently businesses have kept themselves ahead of the competition by using innovative new technologies in creative and inventive ways to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Say hi to AI

When we talk about the role of emerging technologies in aiding businesses, it’s impossible to have a conversation that does not involve Artificial Intelligence. Lots of giants of the tech word from Mark Zuckerberg to Elon Musk have been very vocal in their prognostications of how AI will change the way we live and do business (or erase us from the planet… Terminator style. While the technology is still in its comparative infancy, there are certainly some very tangible ways in which businesses of all shapes and sizes are already benefiting from AI.

Speech recognition interface

Call up virtually any helpline and your first point of contact will likely not be a human operator. You’ll encounter an automated receptionist which uses speech recognition (not to be confused with voice recognition) software to direct your call accordingly. This has enabled businesses to streamline their processes by filtering out nuisance calls, misdials and other time wasters. The medical industry has also begun to make widespread use of speech recognition software for administrative tasks like dictation. You can see more information at VoiceAutomated.com. This would usually be done by administrative support staff, thus saving time and resources.

Chatbots

While still fairly rudimentary, the use of chatbots is becoming more and more widespread and as more and more prospective customers consult a business’ website before picking up the phone or heading down to their physical presence, chatbots are becoming increasingly commonplace and will over time become much more sophisticated. Chatbots are great because they increase prospects’ conversion rates by up to 100% while easing the pressure on frontline customer service professionals so that they can devote their time and attention to providing a better standard of customer service, thereby improving the value of their brand.

Virtual assistants

How many of us only know our friends’ birthdays when reminded by Facebook or our Google calendars? How many of us rely on interconnected digital platforms for our day to day scheduling. Businesses of all sorts are increasingly embracing digital technologies for scheduling and time management, making the rise of virtual assistants something of an inevitability. Over time, our virtual assistants will only become more comprehensive in their capabilities as they communicate with everything from our social media feeds to our supermarket websites’ shopping baskets. Not only will they help us plan our day, they’ll help us to ensure that we have everything that we need to get dinner ready when they get home.

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