Applying the Top 8 Business Tech Trends of 2018

At TrackVia, we’re constantly looking to push the envelope, to use new technologies in ways that will benefit our customers, and to do all this while still rooted in reality. As the premier mobile workflow platform, we are in a unique position to help our customers easily apply business technology incrementally as they desire.

The following are eight business tech trends we see shaping 2018 and the future of our platform. Let’s dive in.

1. Digital transformation will accelerate

Ok, so we’ll start off with a layup. Yes, companies are moving to digitize their operations, moving from paper and Microsoft Excel to modern, mobile-first experiences that give unprecedented visibility into the data that drives organizations. Of course, this is our bread and butter at TrackVia, and we’re excited to lead this charge. But why will digital transformation accelerate? The answer is the ubiquitous increase in efficiency, visibility, scalability, and cost effectiveness.

2. Machine Learning will make it to the masses

Machine Learning (ML) is a form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) — where computers use algorithms to ‘learn’ without being explicitly programmed. Having spent some time playing around with the latest Machine Learning offerings from Google, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM Watson, I’m continually amazed by the incredible computing resources available today that we’ve never had access to in the past.

Having a suite of Machine Learning APIs available to quickly prototype and test against makes exploration fun and creative. The best part? We humans at TrackVia are learning quickly. With our integrations framework, we are able to quickly and easily experiment and test with different datasets and different ML engines. We can’t wait to unleash the power of Machine Learning in the TrackVia platform. Stay tuned.

3. Omnichannel experiences will become the expectation vs the exception

With application platforms, the goal of an omnichannel experience allows you to build an application once and deploy it to web, mobile, and soon, to wearables. In the past, companies didn’t talk about omnichannel because mobile was always an afterthought or an extra step, and custom built as a separate experience.

At TrackVia we have always built our platform with the omnichannel experience in mind. Everything we do revolves around this “build once, deploy everywhere” mentality. And what we’re seeing from our customers is that this trend is now moving even beyond omnichannel. Our customers are going past cookie-cutter omnichannel experiences by taking advantage of our offline capabilities, barcode reading, signature capture and more to create truly unique mobile experiences.

4. Mobile will become a conduit to close-proximity systems

This is something I’m particularly excited about. Just as you have APIs behind your web apps to help transfer/sync your data to other systems, we’re now developing ways to connect your phones and tablets to other devices that are physically close to them. We call this capability the ‘Last Meter’.

For example, one customer we’re working with is using our mobile app to collect information from vending machines automatically over a bluetooth connection. When the mobile device is near the vending machine, our mobile app will talk directly to it and download the latest metrics — thereby reducing errors and making it easier for the technician to do their job.

There are several technologies that help us achieve the Last Meter, such as Low Energy Bluetooth, NFC, etc., and we’re now working with customers to build out capabilities and will then expose them to everyone.

5. Legacy systems will live on by playing nice with others

We’ve all heard the love-hate relationships that people have with legacy systems. Even though many have predicted their demise (they are ‘legacy’ after all), we’ve seen that when TrackVia is paired with an internal legacy system, new life is actually breathed into it. This is done by offloading some of the data capture, workflows, reporting, or all three. For this reason we’re taking the contrarian view that legacy systems will continue to be relevant and evolve (with our help of course).

6. The juggernaut of cloud adoption in the Enterprise will continue

This one is another softball. It’s obvious we will see more and more systems moving to the cloud, and cloud adoption will continue to increase. Why we feel this is noteworthy for 2018 is because many of the early objections that enterprises had in the beginning have now been mitigated, or at least overlooked because of the cost savings. McKinsey recently reported that the cost savings of using public cloud can be as high as 50%. This also dovetails with other trends that McKinsey likes to talk about, which is the transition from building IT to consuming IT. Whatever the reason, we’re certainly feeling this shift, and are happy to be the only true application platform in the cloud!

7. IoT will continue to gain traction

I love the internet of things (IoT). It’s a wonderfully simple concept. IoT is just tens, hundreds or thousands of small, single purposed bots all reporting the current status of something over time.

TrackVia’s ability to quickly build applications to collect and analyze disparate sets of data puts us in a very unique position to be able to solve our customer’s challenges using IoT. And, with TrackVia’s partnership with Current, Powered by GE, we have the right minds in the ring.

For example, one of our customers wants to understand the impact of weather on crop yields. To solve this challenge, they are looking at IoT devices to measure weather (microclimates preclude them from relying on a weather service) then will use our mobile apps to get the data from these IoT devices into their TrackVia platform. Taking it a step further, using Machine Learning, they can better forecast crop yields.

Built from scratch, a system like the above would be cost prohibitive and inconceivable. Yet with TrackVia, inconceivable is achievable.

8. Death to spreadsheets

As much as we’d like to see this happen, the likelihood is pretty remote. We all use Microsoft Excel — yet, while sometimes it’s just right, other times it’s just wrong. The unfortunate reality is that the latter is rarely acknowledged. Regardless, with our Excel import and drag and drop build-tools, we’re doing our best to put a stop to the rampant use of Excel when a much more powerful and efficient option is available (like TrackVia).

Applying the Trends to Trend Up

The 2018 trends promise vast opportunities and we’re excited to apply them in continuance of helping our customers reduce costs and improve on-time performance. What are your thoughts on the 2018 trends and how they can be applied? We’d love to hear from you! Post a comment below or learn more at www.trackvia.com.

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