The tech trends that could affect your business this year

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Tech Trends That Could Affect Your Business This Year

Although your company might hesitate at embracing the latest device or software, what about competitors or your industry at large? It's important to remain open to what's new in the tech world to gain valuable insight into potential risks and opportunities within your company. Here's a rundown on 2016 tech trends and how they could impact your business.

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1. Beacons

Beacons — hardware attached to a wall or counter that transmits messages to mobile devices — are often brushed off as a retail-only avenue, as supermarkets and stores can use them to alert customers to specials when they're near a particular product. But imagine beacon technology for home automation. Consumers could automate the doors or windows in their house to open and the lights to turn on as soon as they're home. Or transit systems: How much faster could commuters exit a train station without having to fumble for their transit cards?

2. Smartphone Payments

Again, another trend that's not just for retail: Enabling customers to make payments by tapping their smartphone on a point-of-sale device could be used by virtually any business. Taking a payment as soon as a job finishes will impact every area of your business — less work for accountants, less work chasing after unpaid invoices and ultimately money in your pocket much quicker!

3. Wearables

Wearables are going beyond smartphones and fitness trackers. The stylish Neyya smart ring pairs with consumers' other devices and enables them to answer phone calls via the ring. Even budget airline EasyJet has been trialing embedding wearable technology into their uniforms, with built-in microphones for easy communication between crew and passengers.

4. 3D Printing

We've all seen the sweet video of the disabled kitten gaining mobility thanks to a 3D-printed mini wheelchair, but what about other industries? Toys, electronics and even automotive systems have all started to embrace it. It won't be long before the kids will be bringing home 3D-printed projects from school.

5. Virtual Reality

2016 will see more people talking about immersive multimedia and computer-simulated reality. At January's CES global consumer, electronics and technology trade show, there were 46 gaming and virtual reality exhibitors, more than double last year. Obviously, entertainment and gaming will be impacted by virtual reality, but consider enhancing a customer's in-store experience by enabling them to try products, or a tourism company giving a customer insight into life in Rome.

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