Technologies Gaining Traction with Businesses TodaySeptember 22, 2022
Technology is constantly evolving to help us do things faster, more accurately, and “get more done with less.” Some of these technologies can be helpful to businesses. Businesses that adopt the right technologies can improve the overall performance of their operations. Newer technologies can reduce costs and improve productivity. They can improve output quality, and employee satisfaction with work can increase. All of this can ultimately translate to higher profitability.
Depending on your business and industry, the following new technologies are areas you might be able to leverage to make your business more competitive:
- Software-Defined Wide Area Networks
- Zoom Rooms
- Virtual Reality
- 3D Printers
Many businesses are exploring applications that use these new technologies, and there are many opportunities for additional development. GSDSolutions, a Bay Area IT support provider, helps companies take advantage of new technologies and explore different possibilities. Learning how the technologies work, how they can be used, and the benefits they provide can help you decide how to integrate them into your operations.
Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) Deliver Better Performance with Lower Costs
When businesses transmit data between a central location and remote operations, questions can arise about security, bandwidth, and reliability. A typical application is when a head office needs to communicate extensively with many branch offices. Often this is carried out over dedicated data lines where security is handled at the head office. The data transmissions commonly use Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), where routers choose the best path for data packets. These hardware-based systems are expensive and have a comparatively low transmission capacity compared to speeds that are possible with today’s Wi-Fi and mobile networks and Internet broadband connections.
Data traveling over SD-WAN rely on software to determine the best path for data packets. A typical system will use broadband Internet connections at the head and branch offices to transmit data at high speeds. Security is addressed with end-to-end data encryption. The SD-WAN systems have substantially lower network and hardware costs and offer increased flexibility for companies either growing rapidly or downsizing. SD-WAN systems are especially easy to integrate with cloud-based applications and provide direct access to the company cloud from remote locations.
The combined benefits of lower monthly costs, higher bandwidth, more flexible access, and easy scalability have led large corporations to adopt the technology. Advancements in SD-WAN mean it’s now an affordable option for small and mid-sized businesses as well.
Zoom Rooms Can Make Your Meetings More Productive
During the work-from-home part of the COVID pandemic, companies would hold meetings on the Zoom application, with meeting participants logging in and seeing and hearing one another on their computers or mobile devices. Zoom rooms take this remote meeting capability and add large screens, whiteboards, and additional functionality to a central room. Remote participants can still log in as before, but they are seen on a large monitor with excellent sound and video. The added functions of a Zoom room make it worthwhile even without using the remote features.
With a Zoom Room, meeting participants can display their desktops or the files they are viewing on a large screen so that everyone can see what they are talking about. Interactive tasks such as scheduling can be carried out on a common large screen rather than on individual devices. Sharing work is possible at the touch of a button, and the Zoom room system can work with equipment from various major hardware vendors.
While other manufacturers offer similar capabilities, the Zoom Room platform costs less than comparable systems. Since remote meetings on Zoom became popular in 2020, the company has worked on increasing security and making it easy to use the system. Video and sound have also improved over the initial Zoom app’s quality. Businesses today benefit from the Zoom room meetings’ improved productivity features and the reduction in travel costs due to the remote meeting capability.
Virtual and Augmented Reality Are Better at Visualizing Designs and Environments
Virtual reality has been around for a long time and was relatively primitive when it started. Today, the technology has made significant advances to the point where it can be helpful to businesses. Virtual environments can be created simply by either creating or using a camera to capture images for viewing on a computer screen. For a more immersive experience, the virtual environment can be viewed with a headset or helmet. Visitors can either move virtually through the environment themselves or create an avatar or digital clone that they move around.
Augmented reality uses similar technology to superimpose virtual objects on real scenes. This allows viewers to visualize your products or designs in real settings. Such functionality is especially useful to help customers picture what something would look like in their house, on their property, or when wearing it.
Businesses can also use both virtual and augmented reality for feasibility simulations. Whether a design or product will fit visually or functionally into a given environment can easily be explored virtually in a richer, more “realistic” manner. As technology improves, creating virtual elements will become easier, but many businesses are getting in on the ground floor to build their expertise now.
3D Printers Can Reduce Costs for Prototyping and Testing
Where 3D printers were a novelty item not long ago, businesses now use commercial and industrial versions to produce objects made from different materials. The latest generation of 3D printers can use a variety of substances, including plastics, resins, and metals, to create items with complex shapes. They deposit thin films of the material according to programmed patterns to build up 3D shapes.
3D printers deliver tangible benefits for companies in three main areas: prototyping, modeling, and spare parts. Prototypes are often expensive to machine, stamp, or form. A significant cost lies in the tooling required to create the part. 3D printing side-steps this requirement by producing the part directly from a 3D design created using special software.
- Product prototypes and architectural models
These can be expensive to make manually, and the cost increases with the model’s complexity. 3D printers can produce detailed prototypes and models at a significantly lower cost.
- Spare parts for older equipment
These are often unavailable or cost too much to produce and purchase. 3D printers can produce many parts to spec, and can usually do it more quickly and economically.
Drones Offer Surveillance and Delivery Functions
Battery-powered drones can deliver small payloads over short distances and can also carry out surveillance. The time and distance the small propeller-driven units can fly depend on the battery’s size and the drone’s weight. Businesses are currently using drones in pilot projects to deliver products to customers, identify threats to secure sites, monitor events, and collect images for business purposes. These include performing land surveys, weather and wildfire monitoring, and real estate marketing.
Although drone use in this context remains experimental in most cases, many companies are exploring the use of drones to establish how they can fit into their operations. Improvements in technology and the changing regulatory environment mean companies with experience using drones can adjust quickly when the compelling business uses become clear.
GSDSolutions Provides IT Support and Technology Guidance
Businesses can benefit from external expert guidance in applying all these new technologies to their operations. The Bay Area is an innovative center for the development of new technologies, and working with a managed IT services provider in this area with a similar innovation mindset can be very valuable to local small and mid-sized businesses. If you are looking for Bay Area IT support services, contact GSDSolutions for help learning about what new technologies might benefit your business.
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