Many technological advances designed to improve the efficiency of small business have been showcased at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas.

Everything is becoming connected and everything is getting smarter was an underlying theme for this year’s convention, which can give small business owners ideas for future technology that will help you get ahead of the competition, improve customer service, save time or boost productivity.1

Here’s a snapshot of some of the major innovations that featured at CES 2017 and which are expected to eventually have an enormous impact on business applications.

  1. The Internet of Things (IoT) –links devices, sensors and appliances to the web. Seen as especially important for anyone involved in manufacturing or healthcare, e.g. mobile medical applications and wearable devices.1
  2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) – which is getting better at mimicking humans, e.g. virtual personal assistants that will streamline workplace processes by prioritising emails, writing reports and taking customer orders.1
  3. Voice Recognition – the ability of phones, computers and other devices to recognise human speech and understand more of a conversation. It can power everything from customer service voice menus and chatbots to car controls and home search devices.2
  4. Augmented Reality (AR) – technology that will add context and information to our business scenarios. It superimposes what people see with their own eyes with computer-generated information, e.g. an architect looking at a recently constructed building can hold an iPad up to a wall and see the blueprints overlaid on top of it.1

Product Honourable Mentions

  • Need a drone to shoot footage of your next launch event or fly a banner advertising your new product? – more than 1.2 million drones were projected to be sold in the U.S. by the end of 2016.3
  • Augmented Reality-powered apps that offer instruction manuals, or facial recognition to help identify people you meet at your next networking event.2
  • Smart wireless earbuds that not only track your stress levels and block out noise, but also remind you of your next appointment or business meeting.2