As we step into 2024, technology continues its rapid evolution, influencing how businesses operate and interact with their surroundings. 2023 was notable for AI bursting onto the global consciousness, initially through ChatGPT.
The world scrambled to jump onto this “new” thing, and we will start seeing AI being built into many of the tools that we use in our businesses. Everyone will want to tell you that they are up with the play with AI!
The question is – how can you get ahead with these technologies, or, avoid falling behind!
So, let's delve into some of the key trends that are likely to impact the IT landscape for SMEs in New Zealand in 2024.
The Internet of Things (IoT) Grows Exponentially
The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to continue its phenomenal growth in 2024. This ecosystem of internet-connected devices, collecting and transmitting data for analysis and implementation, is becoming increasingly integral to daily operations. From smart meters and security cameras to fridges and AI virtual assistants, IoT devices are pervasive.
Already, many of us have dozens of Internet connected devices; from our computers and phones, to our security cameras and heat pumps. This growth will continue and bring a heightened focus on IoT development and, crucially, on improving security measures. Small businesses should be prepared for advancements in IoT and the imperative of securing these interconnected devices.
How can you better solve your customers problems by integrating IoT devices into your products/services?
The Metaverse Expands its Influence
The Metaverse, an immersive internet where work, play, and socialization coalesce, is poised to become even more significant in 2024. Businesses can anticipate a more immersive environment for collaborative projects, meetings, and shared experiences within the Metaverse. Expect further development in creating human-like avatars, enhancing the virtual experience for users. Know that AI-power will start being built into these devices, and this experience. Importantly, know that many of your customers might be going there, even if you are not.
While wearing VR headsets is nowhere near a mainstream business practice, the Metaverse is a space worth monitoring for potential future applications.
As the younger generations get older, the “digital natives” will become more influential in determining what our world looks like.
AI Integration Takes Centre Stage
In 2024, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will become more tangible for Kiwi SMEs, with a particular focus on the integration of AI into existing products and services. We are likely to see some very rapid developments here, as software suppliers and other companies rush to incorporate AI into their offerings, into the design of their offerings, or into their business processes for increased productivity. One example is in this week’s ecomms email – Microsoft Co-Pilot is becoming available for SMEs now – much sooner than predicted. Our advice – keep an eye out and think about how you can add competitive advantage to your business by making use of this power.
Low or no-code solutions are also worth a mention. These user-friendly platforms, featuring drag-and-drop interfaces, empower individuals to create intelligent products and services without extensive coding knowledge. Imagine Wix or Weebly, who were early pioneers, but for your business automation. AI-enabled algorithms will enhance customer experiences, offering personalized product recommendations to a far better level than pre-ChatGPT.
Contactless, autonomous shopping, and delivery are set to be major trends in 2024, making it easier for consumers to access goods and services seamlessly. Think of it as like Delivereasy, only for more stuff! Virtual Assistant services, AI-powered, like those found in Outlook and Teams, will see improvements, aiding users in managing their inboxes and daily work tasks more efficiently.
Cybersecurity Remains Paramount
As cyber threats become more sophisticated and commonplace, and more things are connected to, and powered by, the Internet; cybersecurity will remain a top priority in 2024. Small businesses are predicted to be primary targets, comprising 61% of data breaches (source: Verizon). It's crucial for smaller enterprises to understand that cybersecurity is an ongoing concern, with criminals actively targeting businesses that don't have robust security measures in place.
Larger organizations have been fortifying their defences, meaning the baddies see smaller businesses as easier targets. Especially with AI. Expect it to get much tougher to tell the real from the fake. Proactive cybersecurity measures are essential to safeguard against evolving threats in the digital landscape.
The Rise of Human-like Robots
In 2024, robots are poised to become even more human-like, with Elon Musk revealing plans for their deployment in the next 3-5 years. These robots will initially undertake basic roles while gradually moving into more complex tasks in warehouses and factories.
We’re probably not going to see them in the local dairy or restaurant any time soon! But GTB already has clients adopting robotics as a vital and productive part of their businesses. We suggest keeping a watchful eye on these developments, as the integration of robots into various industries could impact business operations.
As technology advances in 2024, Kiwi small businesses must stay informed and prepared for the evolving digital landscape. The trends in IoT, the Metaverse, AI integration, cybersecurity, and humanoid robots present both challenges and opportunities. GTB remains committed to monitoring these developments and ensuring that SMEs in Aotearoa, New Zealand, can leverage technology effectively to achieve their business goals.
Science-fiction is moving rapidly to meet science-fact.
GTB are not experts at all these things, but as your trusted IT advisors, we will help as we can. Let us know what you are thinking and we will provide advice as we can.