January 12, 2021

13 Big Changes 5G Will Bring To Businesses And Consumers In 2021

From wireless service commercials to news stories, the arrival of 5G has been trumpeted far and wide. But while everyone may know that access to 5G is spreading rapidly across the globe, those outside the tech industry may not know why it’s such a big deal.

So why are tech experts so excited about the potential of 5G? Below, 13 industry experts from Forbes Technology Council take a look at the significant—even game-changing—impacts 5G may make for both businesses and consumers.

1. Smaller businesses will be able to access the IoT.

With 5G here, the Internet of Things opens up to a much larger audience, including small businesses. As an example, as the recent holiday season showed, more full-fledged pop-up retail locations were available, with greater capabilities. - Kevin Beasley, VAI

2. IoT systems will be cover entire cities.

In 2021, 5G will open more opportunities for businesses to use the IoT. The limitations of 4G have caused a lag in large IoT industrial systems. With 5G, the IoT will rise to its full potential, allowing developers to unite separate devices and sensors into one system. IoT systems will be able to cover entire cities, making smart cities in 2021 even more of a reality. - Jason Carolan, Flexential

3. Richer and more interactive customer communications will be enabled.

5G will fundamentally change how businesses communicate with customers. It will permit rich HD video, product demonstrations and a greater interactive environment. The standards for doing business and engaging consumers will change, and companies that cannot rise to this level of digital investment will lose connection with customers. - Kevin Parikh, Avasant

4. Businesses will need to become much more agile.

5G will create the need for higher levels of agility in business. Businesses must be able to launch new services and products quickly, analyze their performance and bring them down quickly for nonperformance. For consumers, 5G will bring a host of new experiences in terms of products and services—they will be spoiled for choices. - Padma Ravichander, Tecnotree

5. Multiple radio frequency networks will be replaced with united systems.

Consumers aside, 5G brings enormous potential for highly interconnected, huge-scale systems. To date, smart cities and grids have used multiple RF networks, which are increasingly difficult to manage; 2021 is a good year for them to consider implementing 5G to unite them all. At the same time, cybersecurity should be center stage when telcos pick their 5G providers, and systems should include strong, in-depth defense. - Satyam Bheemarasetti, NeoSilica Technologies Private Limited

6. Information security will be even more critical.

5G brings about faster, stronger and more reliable service; lower latency; less power usage; and the ability to carry more devices than 4G. All of this will impact the security posture of businesses and individual networks. The proliferation of hardware traffic points of contact will decentralize security, while the increased bandwidth capacity will strain monitoring systems. - Bob Fabien ZingaDirectly, Inc./U.S. Navy Reserve

7. Major infrastructure upgrades will be needed.

Data will be created and modified through edge computing with the emergence of 5G, and communication will become more realistic, especially with remote work. It’s important to note that 5G heavily relies on its given bandwidth, so major changes in neighborhood infrastructure will be required to be successful. 5G will also lead to more IoT models with data being collected and analyzed at the edge. - Danny Allan, Veeam Software

8. The transition to the edge cloud will become smoother.

In 2021 businesses should expect to see more services continue to move to the edge cloud in place of their local infrastructures. Cloud and mobility are changing the way we are working, and the internet has become the new corporate network. 5G will allow businesses to make that transformation more smoothly without compromising on performance and security. - Amit Bareket, Perimeter 81

9. Gamers will see decreased latency.

Consumers can expect amazing new experiences in 2021 due to 5G and complementary technologies like edge computing. One example is Cox’s Elite Gamer Service, which optimizes the connection between a user’s gaming laptop and the gaming server. This decreases latency and ensures gamers have the edge against their online competitors. - Maddison Long, CloudOps

10. XR will become a viable commercial channel.

I expect to see extended reality becoming a real commercial channel, shifting from entertaining or training into serving. With the cost of hardware decreasing and marketplaces being more accessible, the scene is already set for XR to become democratized and widely consumed. Still, it can’t reach its potential until the experience is personalized, interactive and fed with tailored content in real-time speed. - Diana Xhumari, Tegeria

11. Apps will be revamped to take advantage of 5G.

When the 4G networks and the 4G phones met, we created an entire digital economy. Uber, Netflix and Doordash would not exist without 4G. With 5G allowing up to 100 times more speed, every app company will now ask, “What can we now do with our app that we couldn’t before?” Every app you know will be redone. - David Moise, Decide Consulting

12. Video streaming will be greatly enhanced.

As 5G proliferates in 2021, consumers can expect to see high-res video, 360-degree views, augmented reality and virtual reality content, and commercials across devices—particularly mobile, as it’s the most personal screen for consumer engagement. Moreover, due to the global pandemic, watching live sports broadcasts and events online will become the norm as buffer spinners get replaced with real-time clips and live viewer-participation widgets. - Dana Ghavami, Spotible

13. Real-time application of collected data will be enabled.

With 5G, the amount of data that can be collected and aggregated will be tremendous. This could allow for real-time diagnosis and mitigation of health conditions, farming optimizations (fertilization, water, etc.), autonomous vehicle tracking, and traffic and city services monitoring (parking availability, crime reporting). There are so many possibilities—all centered around data! - Amy Czuchlewski, Bottle Rocket

This article was originally published on Forbes.com

January 1, 2021

Let’s Face It, 2020 Was Hard.

Despite the hardships of this year, there was a lot to learn and celebrate. 2020 has managed to teach us a few things and forever changed the way brands and consumers interact.

Now it's our turn to share our learnings with you. Chock full of insights on App Clips, cryptocurrency, curbside ordering, telehealth and more, don't miss out on your free copy today.

December 17, 2020

16 Smart Ways For Tech Teams To Stay Ahead Of Industry Trends

Technology is one of the fastest-moving industries out there. The expectation to stay on top of the latest trends creates sizable responsibilities for every tech department. It’s not about just meeting deadlines—it’s about keeping up with the speed of technology.

As new trends emerge daily, it’s important your tech team stays on top of developments. Below, 14 members of Forbes Technology Council give their best tips for staying ahead of the curve in the ever-changing technology sector.

1. Look into new tech tools used in your industry.

I encourage my team to stay open to new technology. When a sales representative reaches out to us about new software, we don’t immediately discard the email because we have another system in place. When we notice a competitor using a new tool, we look into it. By being willing to question the way things are done and look for areas of improvement, we can continually innovate and improve. - Thierry Schellenbach, Stream - Chat & Activity Feed APIs

2. Focus on tech that enables growth.

It’s important to step back and realize that it’s not always about adopting the latest and greatest technology. Instead, focus on technology that enables your business growth. Prioritize developing new features that support that new revenue stream, but do it under an upgraded modern architecture and in a way that will accelerate future platform upgrades. - Ruchi Goyal, Accenture

3. Be sure you know what your customers are looking for.

We talk to our customers and partners—a lot. We hear what their short- and long-term plans are and bake those requirements into our product backlog. We also develop and test fast. Using the “MVP” mindset, we quickly build and invest in the next generation of certain capabilities and test them in the market to see what sticks. - Chetan Mathur, Next Pathway

4. Have team members rotate in a weekly ‘show and tell.’

Every week, have one of the team members do a “show and tell” of something new they’ve seen in the industry, whether it’s a new framework, new library, new system being developed, etc. That always starts a conversation and keeps the team members looking for new ideas and developing new skills. - Jeff Rubenstein, Kaltura

5. Share news stories among the team.

Our team constantly shares articles and news over Slack. Giving employees the chance to attend user conferences and creating an open environment for knowledge sharing is critical to pushing the team to think about how to stay on the bleeding edge. We also strongly believe that the best way to evaluate new technology is to make time for a quick proof of concept. - Sanjoy Malik, Urjanet

6. Evaluate your data.

Teams should evaluate data that measure the customer experience to continuously increase value. Using automation, teams can analyze this data, categorize it and surface relevant information to quickly find solutions to customer-impacting issues. Teams that leverage this approach remain ahead of the curve because it means they can focus on innovation over remediation. - Phil Tee, Moogsoft

7. Follow industry thought leaders.

It’s important to be connected with thought leaders in the industry. Before Covid-19, this came from attending conferences, but now that attendance needs to be replaced or supplemented. I highly recommend signing up for industry newsletters and doing proactive outreach to vendors that used to sponsor conferences in the past. They are still doing great work; you just have to dig a little. - Joaquin Lippincott, Metal Toad

8. Incentivize continuing education.

Schedule ongoing training sessions around new skills and tools. A regular tech employee should know how to code as well as implement html into assignments. Once they have the structural foundation, you can add to their repertoire by funding and incentivizing their education. As a bonus, this means your company provides regular benefits and remains relevant within the tech world. - Arnie Gordon, Arlyn Scales

9. Tap into industry information resources.

Subscribe to several different sources to keep up with recent advancements in the tech industry, especially those sources that provide an expert opinion on the subject matter. Then, constantly connect your internal teams with the latest tech trends and developments they should take advantage of. - Henry Peter, Ushur

10. Develop a technical marketing team.

We always use our technical marketing team. This team engages customers, press, technical journals, etc. to understand where technology is headed and our customers’ plans. From this, they put together a marketing requirement document that is given to the engineering team, who then interprets the information and works with marketing to develop an engineering roadmap. - Jay MarshallEyeLock LLC

11. Have team members lead lunch-and-learns.

I hold weekly brown-bag sessions with the team in which one of the members talks about a new topic and educates the whole team. This session allows us to learn and discuss new trends and see how we can utilize them in our company. We also regularly share news articles and talks, and I encourage team members to attend conferences and webinars and present what they learn to the whole team. - Amit Ojha

12. Establish personal development goals for each team member.

I coach people to look at personal development in terms of swim lanes that you establish at the beginning of the year and break down to monthly and quarterly actionable items. This can be technology to be learned, soft skills to improve and/or anything in between. Growth does not happen by accident—establishing a balanced yearly plan ensures alignment and palpable results. - Danny Acuna

13. Feed team members’ passion for their craft.

Loving the craft of technology isn’t just about doing projects but being immersed in the world and driving solutions outside the office walls. Be a part of the community via Meetups or Github projects. Read what’s going on and actively contribute to the community that’s building the future. Passion for the craft is key. - Tim Kulp, Mind Over Machines

14. Give team members time to attend conferences.

It’s important to give employees time to learn new technologies even if they aren’t able to use them directly in their day-to-day work. One way to do this is to allow employees to attend conferences and share what they’ve learned with the team. This can help infuse a learning culture that keeps everyone’s skills current. - Amy Czuchlewski, Bottle Rocket

15. Stay active in the open-source community.

We encourage our developers to actively participate in the open-source community by making parts of our codebase open as well as contributing to the projects that we use ourselves. The open-source community is what starts or adopts most of the new trends, so being part of it keeps us in the loop. - Sanket Saurav, DeepSource

16. Start a study and discussion program.

Having a study and outreach meeting program will help your team stay ahead of the trends. Each team member should spend one to two hours a month reading, learning and evaluating industry-leading tech that may impact their business. Once a month, everyone brings their findings and discusses them as a team in a roundtable session with leadership, which can lead to the exploration of certain tech if needed. - Tanvir BhangooTBX Digital Inc.

This article was originally published on Forbes.com

October 1, 2020

10 Exciting Ways 3D Printing Will Be Used In The Future

As 3D printing continues to mature, its practical uses are seemingly infinite. From artwork and toys to entire buildings and even transplantable organs, this technology can go as far as our imaginations will allow.

While 3D printing may be most exciting for companies looking to streamline their prototyping technology, its potential for the non-tech consumer world is growing and evolving. That’s why we asked members of Forbes Technology Council what potential uses of 3D printing non-tech companies should be excited about and why. Keep an eye out for its use in these 10 applications.

1. DIY Product Prototyping

Prototyping of products has long been the barrier to innovation because inventors could do little more than dream about a product or idea. A friend’s 12-year-old son ordered a 3D printer on the internet, set it up without any parental guidance and started manufacturing fidget spinners. For a couple of weeks, this kid was making a killing—until all his classmates bought 3D printers. - Jack Weiss, Marena Cosmos

PROMOTEDTeradata BV BRANDVOICE | Paid ProgramWhy Data MattersT-Mobile BRANDVOICE | Paid ProgramT-Mobile for Business BrandVoice: From Sci-Fi To Everyday Business: Welcome To The Age Of The RobotKinetica BRANDVOICE | Paid ProgramThe Streaming Data Warehouse: A Ferrari, Without The Maintenance

2. Additive Manufacturing 

Additive manufacturing is an important supply chain management tool that’s currently helping the U.S. Army enhance readiness to support soldiers on the battlefield. Because it relies on digital blueprints, the authenticity, confidentiality and integrity of the “digital thread” is critical to mitigating risk while achieving successful outcomes. - Arshad Noor, StrongKey

3. Rare Parts Replacement

The potential of metal-based 3D printing will allow for the creation of rare discontinued replacement parts in a wide variety of applications. Repair shops could handle a much wider variety of clientele, and online retailers may be able to print unique parts, providing more products through a just-in-time inventory approach. - Luke Wallace, Bottle Rocket

4. Automotive Prototyping

3D printing has overcome the hype and is now broadly adopted by non-tech businesses. The automobile industry is using it to rapidly prototype new car models. 3D printing is used to produce spare and replacement parts in sectors such as aerospace. Healthcare has a wide variety of 3D printing applications ranging from molds in dentistry to prosthetics, as well as 3D printed models for complex surgeries. - Swathi YoungIntegrity Management Systems Inc.

5. Fraud Prevention

3D printing is showing promise in terms of preventing card-present fraud in things like point-of-sale systems and ATMs. For example, banks are now using 3D printing to design and produce ATM components that prevent credit card skimming. As the digital and physical security worlds meet, 3D printing will play a vital role in creating hardware to fight fraud. - John Shin, RSI Security

6. Customizable Solutions

The shift from broad, one-size-fits-all solutions to more customizable and personalized offerings has been a major trend in recent years, and 3D printing has the potential to take it a step further. Companies will be able to offer greater flexibility and personalization on the specifications and design of products sold without the need to dramatically mark up the cost. - Ron Cogburn, Exela Technologies

7. Manufacturing And Logistics

3D printing is upending the status quo for how companies develop, build and deliver products. People are even 3D printing food and houses on site! Thanks to this technology, sourcing for raw materials, manufacturing and logistics will never be the same. The efficiency, flexibility and lower costs that 3D printing brings can change how organizations get things done in practically every industry. - Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC

8. Lowered Production Costs

3D printing is being used to lower costs for companies so they can offer products at lower costs. For example, in 2018 ICON 3D printed a house at the South by Southwest festival. It not only could be used to provide sustainable housing around the world but could also help people affected by natural disasters by quickly providing replacement housing. - Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

9. Apparel Printing

I think the apparel industry is ripe for disruption with 3D printing. With 3D, customers can print their own gloves, belts and glasses to meet their needs. This can provide co-creation opportunities for retailers and provide personalized design to customers. - Buyan Thyagarajan, Eigen X

10. Medicine And Healthcare Applications

I see 3D printing having a tremendous impact on medicine and general healthcare in the coming years. There are millions of people who need access to affordable prosthetics, and 3D printing is a cost-effective solution. It gives medical staff the ability to map and uniquely design each printout to a patient’s specific needs. This technology will certainly improve the lives of many people. - Abishek Surana Rajendra, Course Hero

This article was published on Forbes.com.

March 4, 2020

Technology and Software: Riding the Disruptive Wave of Gen Z

Business Chief sits down with Calvin Carter, CEO of Bottle Rocket to discuss how the technology and software industry is being disrupted by Generation Z.

Mckinsey defines Generation Z as people born from 1995 to 2010. This generation is the first truly digital native generation exposed to the internet, social media and technology from an early age unlike Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials who remember a time before the internet was mainstream. Key traits of Generation Z include connectivity, inquisitive, entrepreneurial and brand-consciousness. Currently, Generation Z comprises 32% of the 7.7bn global population (2019).

With this in mind, Business Chief speaks to Calvin Carter, CEO of Bottle Rocket, which provides end-to-end digital transformation services to improve connectivity between businesses and consumers. Carter discusses the changes, challenges and benefits this new generation entering the work environment will bring to the technology and software industry. 

What are the key trends and disruptors within your industry at the moment? 

Within today’s evolving marketplaces, the brand differentiators that have proved successful in the past are no longer enough to set a company apart. This new era has been dominated by a new type of customer, emerging as a result of the digital literacy that is now fed from Generation Z through to baby boomers and beyond. The connected customer, who interacts with brands through digital means, is a new type of consumer who seeks immediate, frictionless, and personalised experiences. These demands make the connected customer a huge disruptor in any industry, and have spawned a host of trends that companies must pay attention to in order to grow their business in the long-term. Providing a seamless omnichannel experience, investing in digital channels of engagement, and tying such digital transformation strategies to core goals are now the basic expectations for any firm, and those that are achieving harmony between these aspects are becoming disruptors themselves.

How do you feel the industry is changing as a result of Generation Z?

While 40% of baby boomers are considered connected customers, Gen Z stands at 80%, effectively making any brand who wants to work with the generation invest in a brand experience that fits their connected lifestyle. Raised using the internet, Gen Z is placing great pressure on organisations to provide digital experiences that exceed what’s come before. Fundamentally, the way businesses interact with both customers and employees has been transformed in ways that leverage technology. Although deemed a difficult strategy to execute, 67% of consumers say they’ll pay more for a better experience, therefore there are great benefits to be reaped if businesses are willing to adapt.  

What challenges do you feel the industry is facing as a result of Generation Z?

If a business is to demonstrate that they are harnessing the changing needs of their customers, they will need to invest in more than simply a digital presence. Yes, today’s Connected Customer wants simple and convenient user experiences but, in order to keep them delighted, businesses need to ensure these experiences are innovative. The resulting challenge is the anticipation of new needs and making them feel that the customer experience was designed just for them. For even the most established or successful businesses, failure to favour change could result in brands joining the 52% of the Fortune 500 that have gone bankrupt since 2000

What do you feel companies need to do in order to stay ahead of fast evolving trends and new generations such as Generation Z?

Anticipating needs and desires, and bringing them to market before competitors, is the underlying strategy all companies must have in place to maintain momentum and further reach the Generation Z market. With new technologies emerging on a regular basis, digital transformation is racing ahead and, to keep up, businesses need to purposefully blend each experience across digital interfaces to create a holistic journey. In order to provide that seamless customer experience, companies need to acknowledge every touchpoint and link them to flow from one device to another. This ultimately reduces, or even eliminates, the likelihood of Generation Z finding flaws and looking to competitors who fully accommodate their needs.

To better premeditate the next set of needs to emerge, businesses inevitably need contextual data that allows for more personalised features. 53% of consumers are looking forward to artificial intelligence (AI) making brand interactions a better experience, therefore companies need to purposefully harness the technology to achieve meaningful connections with customers. By tracking data analytics and customer pain-points, businesses can build technology-enabled solutions that satisfy customers and in turn produce undeniable value for the company.

Which industries do you see being impacted the most by Generation Z?

In knowing exactly what they want, when they want it, and how, Generation Z do not judge brands against direct competitors in any specific industry. In fact, those who fail to receive a superior experience will not hesitate to switch to any other company that can fill that gap. It is impossible in today’s concentrated business environment to think of a sector that is immune to the ever-evolving demands resulting from digital disruption. 

How do you feel work environments will be affected by Generation Z?

Forming the newest wave of young professionals, 40% of the US workforce will be comprised of Generation Z this year, undoubtedly having an impact on company culture and internal processes. As digital disruption takes force, the need for immediacy and connectivity replicates in work settings. This demographic responds by seeking active engagement in conversations around culture and wanting to be a part of an immersive environment – both verbally and spatially. These employees take the time to understand ‘why’ and ask a lot of questions, which may be deemed a challenge for business leaders, but is needed to reduce churn and for the entire business to grow. 

Why do you feel it is important for business to focus on this generation?

Positioned as disruptors to the global workforce, it should be a priority for companies to harness the talents and expertise of Generation Z. In the same way that it is crucial to cater to the needs of post-Millennial consumers, business leaders must also focus their resources on maximising the potential of this workforce demographic. Traditionally, team members are delegated tasks and are only deemed successful based on their ability to get as many tasks completed, or boxes ticked, as possible. Nowadays, Generation Z employees define success differently, and view career progression as a team effort. Within this, leaders should understand that what they build internally has an impact on the marketplace. Recognition, awards, and compensation rather than simply clocking-out invites long-term rewards and retention.  

How has Bottle Rocket been impacted by Generation Z?

Bottle Rocket’s culture has always been a place where the best and the brightest come together to build amazing things together, regardless of their age, ethnicity, gender, background or belief systems. So you could say we are predisposed to being attractive to the Generation Z workforce.

Gen Z and Millennials demand authenticity, transparency and vulnerability, which are all things most companies struggle with and make executives uncomfortable. We have had to become more and more transparent and vulnerable with our Rocketeers as our workforce continues to be filled more and more by more recent generations of professionals. The good news is that we already had this mindset, but we had to amp it up and get very real with our Rocketeers.

This piece was originally published at BusinessChief.com