It seems like 2017 started only 20 minutes ago, but here we are in 2018 already. Moore’s Law warned us about the exponential growth of technology, and keeping up with it is truly a full time job.

As it happens, it really is LOOKUP.com’s full time job; we stay on top of it so that you can focus on doing yours. Without further adieu, let’s crack into the top trends in information technology that will generate growth for small and medium sized businesses in 2018.

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1. High okta: More expansive cloud cover

We all know about the cloud by now, but in 2018 it’s more robust than ever. With last year’s uptick in the number of small businesses moving their operations to the cloud, we expect more and more businesses to implement cloud computing in daily operations. As accounting software matures, this process too can become cloud-based. Due to the benefits of giving your staff increased flexibility with the opportunity to work remotely, and the huge reduction in cost and resources of managing in-house servers, 2018 is the Year of the Cloud.

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2. Fast figures: Real-time payments

Beginning in January, you’ll no longer have to wait 24-48 hours for transfers between bank accounts. This is being rolled out for the major banks, as well as a large number of smaller ones. This is going to be great for businesses, it’ll boost cash flow as funds won’t be caught up in banking administrative processes. It will also be much easier to pay people, as you’ll be able to set up Pay IDs and make payments from a number of devices without needing the account number and NBN every time.

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3. BIoT: Blockchain meets the IoT

Apparently 2018 is also the year humanity runs out of distinctive acronyms (note that BIoT doesn’t refer to: heat transference in physics; the British Indian Ocean Territory; or the insectoid robots in Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama novels). While the Internet of Things is by all means revolutionary, the biggest criticism has been its security. Blockchain can most simply be described as a “public ledger”, a permanent record of every addition, deletion or correction made to a data set. By combining blockchain and IoT, IoT data becomes more reliable and far easier to keep secure.

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4. Artificial sweetener: AI gets smarter and better

Arnie won’t be terminating your employees any time soon, AI is still a way off from mirroring the human capacity to learn. With that being said, there are tremendous opportunities to be gained from “narrow” AI technologies. These are highly specified programs consisting of algorithms optimised for particular tasks. We’ve seen self-driving cars and chat-bots, but 2018 will see development of AIs with greater capacity for data analytics, insight discovery and a host of other applications that can augment human activity.

5. Race against crime: Proactive cybersecurity

Smart, adaptable security solutions are no longer optional, they’re essential. In 2017 we saw the cost of data breaches to companies who weren’t prepared, and in 2018 it’s time to protect yourself from joining those ranks. There are too many unknowns for a broad security approach to provide sufficient protection. Whether you bring someone in house, or outsource to a managed security provider, the time to step up your security is overdue, and you’re likely at risk right now.

Can any of these trends add value, improve systems, or reduce costs for your business? Contact LOOKUP.com today to find out more.