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Business Trends Entrepreneurs Need to Watch

Technology is advancing faster than ever and business trends are reflecting these changes. Current entrepreneurs are under pressure to be forward thinking, to stay current or be left behind. We have brought together a few of the innovative trends that we expect to see impacting our lives.

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency continues to gain more mainstream acceptance and we can expect this to lead to more business ventures in digital currency. 2017 was dominated by Bitcoin and its exponential growth but Ethereum is hot on its heels, only time will tell who dominates the market. Either way, cryptocurrency is set to grow. The digital currency platform Coinbase experienced an 800% growth in its user base in 2017 and this is expected to rise with cryptocurrency being more widely recognised. A study of almost 3,500 business owners in Britain from invoice finance firm MarketInvoice suggests that a fifth of UK business owners will be using cryptocurrencies to process payments by the end of the year.

Non-traditional travel

England has more than four times as many Airbnb listings as hotels thanks to the websites incredible growth across 2016/17. This disruption to the hotel industry is predicted to continue as holidaymakers seek out authentic, unique and cheap vacations. Over Easter 2018, Airbnb announced that UK residents were going to be welcoming 250,000 visitors into their homes. Trending destinations included Cardiff, Lancashire and Birmingham. This increase has led to research from Kayak.co.uk predicting that high street travel agents won’t exist in just five years. The report found that 10 years ago, a huge 57 per cent of UK adults booked their holidays through a high street travel agent. Today, that figure is just 19 per cent.

Following on from the trend that Airbnb have created are a number of other websites offering non-traditional holidays. These include homeaway.com, campaglam.com and horizonapp.co.

Digital hangouts

Digital hangouts such as Google Hangout have been around for a few years but 2018 is set to see then expand in popularity. Facebook own the Oculus VR headset and are currently investing in their Facebook Spaces platform which allows users to hang out through virtual avatars, wherever they are in the world. Houseparty is another (non-VR) platform that allows users to hang out digitally, and with over one million users everyday this is already a way of life for many of Generation Z (born in the mid-90s to early 2000s).

Augmented reality

Apple’s IPhone 8 and IPhone X have put augmented reality (AR) into the palm of your hand, and with no need for a headset it’s easy to see AR racing ahead of virtual reality (VR) in the home and workplace. AR is the ability to superimpose digital images into the real world and is often described as real life enhancement.

The AR mobile game Pokemon Go took the world by storm in 2016 and businesses are predicted to embrace this ongoing trend by increasing the use of AR in everyday life. You can also expect to see this having an even bigger impact on visual based social media such as Instagram and Snapchat. Retail is expected to follow this trend with apps that allow shoppers to project products into their own homes. Not too sure about that sofa colour? Prepare to virtually project it into your living room to see if it works. It could also take live music and events into a new era. If you can’t attend a concert then prepare to have your favourite band or solo artist digitally perform in your own home.

Automation

Tests in vehicle automation have been carried out since the 1920s but the last 10 years has seen a dramatic progression in this technology. In February, the state of California’s Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed they would be allowing companies to test autonomous vehicles. This is the first time vehicles have ever been allowed to be tested on the roads without humans inside the vehicle. Some are describing this as a giant leap forward, while safety campaigners have argued it could turn California’s roads into a potentially lethal “video game”.

Prepare to see significant automation advancements in the service industry and areas that are data-entry heavy, such as finance, payroll and HR.
Research conducted by University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute revealed that industry experts and AI academics predict that AI will outperform humans in tasks such as translating languages (by 2024), writing high-school essays (by 2026) and driving a truck (by 2027) within 10 years. However, they predict AI will take longer to perform better than humans in roles such as working in retail (by 2031), writing a bestselling book (by 2049) and working as a surgeon (by 2053). Overall the experts predict all jobs will be fully automated in the next 120 years.

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