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Friday, 21 Apr 2023 | 14 min read

Small business in 2030: The top 10 future technologies

A lit up cityscape inside of a network

In 2030, the business landscape will be a very different place.

Technology won't stop evolving. And some exciting new technologies will become essential to businesses in the not-too-distant future.

No, we're not here to talk about trips to Mars and out-there technologies currently in the hands of a select few. Many technologies that have transformed businesses over the last decade have been around longer than that. Zoom went live in 2012, but it wasn't until 2020 that it became a common way to meet and do business. As recently as September 2019, Zoom had 10 million daily meeting participants. A year later, it had 300 million.

And then there's the other significant business innovation of the last decade - migration to the cloud. In 2013, the cloud market was worth US$131 billion, and the average Australian small business wasn't using it. Fast forward to now, and Gartner predicts that the cloud will generate $600 billion in revenue in 2023. And it won't stop there. Markets and Markets expect cloud revenue to jump to as high as $1,240 billion by 2027.

Imagine if your business used the cloud and took video calls ten years ago. In theory, your business would be much more successful. But since the average internet speed in Australia was only 4Mbps back then, it wouldn't have been practical for your business to make the most of these technologies. But that’s all changed with the nbn® rollout and subsequent fibre connect program.

Fast fibre internet offers businesses a golden opportunity to future-proof their operations. With access to fast, reliable internet speeds, fibre connections such as Aussie Fibre and nbn® enterprise ethernet give your business the power to harness the latest technology.  

Are you looking for some inspiration to stay ahead of the curve? These emerging technologies will become small business essentials in the not-too-distant future. And you can implement all of them in your business today. 

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*Actual wholesale speeds capped at 952Mbps as prescribed by nbn® due to many factors including equipment and network limitations not operated by Aussie Broadband.

10 emerging technologies small businesses must know

 

1: Artificial Intelligence (AI)

In 2014, Hong Kong venture capital firm Deep Knowledge made history by appointing an AI model to its board of directors. A bold move at the time, but nearly a decade on, it's looking a lot less crazy.

We've been talking a lot about AI recently. And for a good reason. Tools such as ChatGPT have taken the world by storm and look set to upend how we work.

But while AI has already established itself as a force for research and content creation, it's set to go even further.

By 2030, exponential computing and software technology improvements will bolster AI's capabilities - to the point where they act exactly like humans.

And that opens a lot of potential for small business owners. Small businesses have often had to go without valuable skillsets - simply because they can't afford to bring in employees with those skills. AI will help bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots in business.

From virtual assistants to consultants, small businesses can "hire" AI-powered employees that are indistinguishable from their human counterparts - when you work with them virtually.

So, whatever industry you're in, it'll pay to set up an AI strategy. If you know exactly how AI can benefit your business in the long term, you'll be ready to pounce as soon as the technology allows.

 

2: Virtual reality

To most of us, virtual reality (VR) is still a novelty. While some VR can appear very realistic, it isn't a standard part of everyday life. But that's going to change. 

By 2030, 8K VR headsets will become commonplace. 8k video will eliminate visible pixels, delivering a hyper-realistic VR experience. It'll also be more accessible. The VR devices of the near future will be smaller, lighter and come packed with more features.

The result will be VR experiences that appear completely real to all of our five senses.

Consider how you could use VR to enrich your business. You could use it for realistic virtual product demonstrations or even open a VR office for online meetings. However you use VR, you'll need a robust internet connection to take full advantage.

 

3: 3D Printing

3D printing is another emerging technology that will disrupt businesses across almost every industry.

Through a special kind of ink known as "filament", 3D printers can create tangible objects from a wide range of materials. From clothes to toys, and even electronics, the possibilities of 3D printing are endless. Most importantly, 3D printing cuts the production costs of everything it prints to near zero.

And experts in the field predict that by 2030, 3D printing will be much more widespread. The costs of owning and operating a 3D printer will significantly decrease - to the point where even the smallest businesses can get one.

Whether you manufacture goods or not, having a 3D printer will be invaluable. Have an important meeting with a prospective client coming up? Use your 3D printer to gift them some memorable company merch. Are you thinking of a new product line? You can print a prototype in minutes.

So if you're unfamiliar with 3D printing, now's the time to get up to speed. Get ahead of the opportunity now, and you'll be well-placed to leverage its efficiencies and dominate the market.

 

4: The metaverse

The metaverse is a 3D online simulation made up of a network of virtual worlds where people can interact with each other. It's the brainchild of Meta, the company formerly (and still commonly) known as Facebook.

In the metaverse, you can interact with other users, play games, and buy virtual goods such as clothes for your avatar. You can even invest in virtual real estate - the current sale record is a staggering AU$ 4 million

And as more people enter the metaverse, brands have seized the opportunity.

Nike lived up to their famous "just do it" tagline and developed Nikeland, a virtual space where users can play minigames and kit their avatars in the latest Nike sporting gear. It also allowed Nike to showcase their real-life products.

The result has been astounding, with Nike Digital, a division that includes their Metaverse venture, bringing in 26% of Nike's total revenue.

The metaverse offers myriad opportunities for businesses. And it will be more than just the big players taking part. As long as you're in the metaverse, you can use it to promote your business in one form or another.

Like Nike, you could create a virtual storefront. You could even try your hand at hosting a virtual event. The possibilities are as plentiful as they are in the real world.

 

5: Automation

The more processes and tasks you can automate in your business, the better.

And technology has made automation easier - and its scope wider - than ever before. Several platforms support high-powered automation, from onboarding and marketing to service delivery and customer care.  

The result is less time spent doing those basic, repetitive, yet essential business tasks: Processing orders, sending emails, writing reports, the list goes on. If it's part of your workflow, you can automate part, if not all, of the task.

A report by Salesforce found that by 2024, 80% of businesses will have automation as part of their strategy. So if you're not one of those businesses, you'll be playing catch-up as automation becomes standard across all industries.

Embracing automation will ensure your business stays competitive in the future. Automation gives you and your team valuable time, so you can focus on high-value activities and reduce operating costs.

We know the power of automation from experience at Aussie Broadband. Between 2017 and 2019, we automated the nbn® ordering process. That automation meant we could grow while maintaining high service delivery and customer service standards.

With automation taking care of day-to-day business, you have more time to focus on what makes your business unique. Because in the age of hyper-automation, your value proposition is more important than ever.

 

6: Datafication 

From finding out about your customers to identifying new opportunities, a data model can tell you whatever you want to know.

And the technology that makes it all possible is going from strength to strength.

And with better data (and more of it) comes better business decisions. If data isn't an integral element of your business, you're leaving money on the table. You may also be setting your business up for long-term failure. With data, you will know what's working, what isn't and what could work in your business and industry. 

Amazon is a prime (pun intended) example of how a business can use data to improve. Leveraging data, Amazon recommends products to users based on their buying and browsing habits. And if you've spent time shopping on Amazon, you'll know how accurate this data can be.

Some of the ways businesses are using data right now are through platforms such as Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and Salesforce.

So, consider how you can embed data into your business. That way, you can understand what makes your business tick (and what doesn't) and make smarter business decisions.

 

7: The Internet of Things (IoT)

From clothes and watches to thermostats, security cameras and weather monitors, the Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled us to connect almost anything to the internet.

And the opportunities of IoT are just as abundant. IoT devices can collect and analyse real-time data, and you can use the internet to control them from afar. They can also automate mundane but essential tasks such as turning off the lights when no one's in the room and scheduling maintenance. Many IoT devices are mobile, powered by 4G or 5G SIM cards, so you don’t need to worry about finding an internet connection whenever you want to use them.  

There are some innovative ways businesses are already using IoT. 

  • Agricultural businesses use the IoT to operate driverless machinery and soil monitoring devices. 

  • Logistics companies use GPS fleet trackers to stay in control of their fleet. 

  • Healthcare organisations use IoT heart monitors to track patients’ heart rates. This allows them to detect potential problems ahead of time and make more informed medical decisions quicker. 

Curious about what IoT can do? Find out about the IoT devices that are transforming the healthcare, education, agriculture, manufacturing, government, logistics and retail industries.

And of course, there are IoT devices you may already know and love in your home, such as smart fridges and home assistants (Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home). 

All these uses combine to make your business much more efficient. With the advancement and uptake of IoT devices, the savings in time and money they bring will become standard in businesses.

If you have not considered using IoT devices in your business, now's the time to start. Get on top of IoT now, and you'll ensure your business model stays viable.

 

8: Next-generation cloud computing

The cloud's getting bigger. By 2030, cloud computing will be so common businesses will think back to the pre-cloud days and wonder how they survived without it.

Public cloud apps (Think Google Drive, OneDrive, Azure, Amazon Web Services, Dropbox and the like) are easy and cost-effective for businesses to implement. So they've played a crucial role in helping businesses reduce reliance on legacy, pre-cloud ways of storing files and doing business.

The alternative to the cloud - on-premise hardware - is becoming more dated by the second. And not just that, compared to the cloud, on-premise hardware is more expensive to implement and not as scalable. If you’ve switched from carrying around a hard drive or usb to storing files on google drive, you’ll understand this to be true.  

With modern technology needing more data, the cloud is quick to respond. Recently, Google upgraded Google Workspace's (a.k.a Google Drive's) storage capacity for individual users from 15GB to 1TB. They did so with the intention of helping businesses move to the cloud and grow.

However, as more operations move to the cloud, businesses need a more complex solution to take full advantage.

Aussie Broadband's managed cloud services help your business leverage the cloud with a robust, all-encompassing cloud solution. Hosted in our Australian data centre and managed 24/7 by our expert support team, you can keep the focus on your business, knowing your cloud's in good hands. 

Visit our managed cloud services page to find out more. Or, speak to our team on 1300 161 625 to discuss a cloud solution that meets your business's needs. 

 

9: Clean technology (Cleantech)

We're in the midst of a climate crisis. And as a society, we are responsible for taking steps to mitigate the impact of climate change.

That's why cleantech is so important. Cleantech is a broad-brush term for technologies designed to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. Some examples of clean technology include renewable energy sources, energy-efficient building designs, energy management systems, and electric vehicles.

Cleantech presents a golden opportunity for businesses to become more sustainable. And it will soon become the minimum standard.

Consumers are increasingly expecting the brands they buy from to be socially responsible. Investors are taking notice, with sustainable investments growing by 73% per cent to $38.077 billion between 2020 and 2021.

The choice is clear. Your business must invest in environmentally friendly technology where possible. Sustainable technologies are becoming more accessible, removing the cost barriers traditionally associated with going green.

As sustainability becomes a prerequisite for customers, partners and investors alike, it'll also bring more business in. But most importantly, you'll be doing right by the environment.

Consider where and how you can incorporate cleantech in your business. With the wide range of cleantech on the market, you'd be surprised at how easy it is to do what's best for the planet.

 

10: 6G (and the end of 4G)

The 5G (Fifth Generation mobile network) rollout continues to connect Australia to the latest connection technology. 5G gives us faster speeds, millisecond latency and higher bandwidth capacity. While 4G is still commonly used, the 5G rollout has meant the end is near for its predecessor, 3G. Optus, Aussie Broadband's mobile network partner, will shut off its 3G network in September 2024.

When will 6G be available?

By 2030, the 6G rollout will likely be underway, offering even higher speeds and microsecond latency as standard. Experts predict 6G will enable speeds of up to an unprecedented 1Tbps (or 1,000,000Mbps)

How long will 4G be available?

Mobile network carriers will likely shut their 4G Networks down sometime in the early 2030s. By then, the 4G network would be outdated, with 5G becoming the base model. 

The switch to 4G allowed for advances in innovation, such as the enablement of widespread cloud computing and the Internet of Things. To that end, the transition from 4G will require much more planning. Businesses rely on the internet more than ever, and many current IoT devices run on 4G.

So, is it still safe to invest in 4G IoT devices? The short answer is yes. After all, you didn't wait for the 4G or 5G network to get a smartphone. The 4G network will likely be around into the 2030s. And in that time, you'll have implemented IoT devices into your business and reaped the benefits.

We're still a while away from the start of 6G and the end of 4G. Until then, 4G is still a fast, reliable connection option for businesses.

Thinking of upgrading your mobile fleet from 4G to 5G**? We've put together a comprehensive guide with everything you need to know about the two technologies. Check it out here: 4G vs 5g: Which is best for your business?

 

Future-proof your business internet with fast fibre

Technology is evolving fast. And to ensure your business can access the latest tech, you'll need an internet connection that can keep up.

The nbn® fibre connect rollout has made it possible for businesses to access a future-proof internet connection that can power emerging  internet technologies. 

Nbn® Enterprise Ethernet gives your business the bandwidth to implement emerging technologies, with plans up to 1000/1000Mbps*. You'll also have the option to get committed bandwidth, which guarantees your business bandwidth in high-traffic periods. Having your own lane for bandwidth is crucial if you're running a high volume of business-critical internet apps, particularly if you're a larger business with multiple users.

And through Aussie Fibre, your business can access plans up to 2000/2000Mbps. For specialised applications, we can deliver Aussie Fibre plans up to 10,000/10,000Mbps.

Check out our Enterprise Ethernet and Aussie Fibre pages to learn more about next-gen connectivity and build the perfect internet plan for your business. If you have any further questions or want to discuss your business's unique needs, we're here to help. Give our friendly, 100% Australian-based team of business internet experts a call on 1300 480 905.

 

*Actual wholesale speeds capped at 952Mbps as prescribed by nbn® due to many factors including equipment and network limitations not operated by Aussie Broadband.

**5G rolling out in selected areas. Excludes TAS & NT

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Written by

Michael Hayman Headshot

Michael Hayman

Content Writer

Michael is Aussie Broadband's marketing copywriter. Michael is responsible for content marketing within Aussie's growing business segment, which includes writing and editing web content, marketing collateral, and business editorial blog art...

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