6 Business Technology Trends for 2016

Written by JT RIPTON


Where Silicon Valley goes, business follows.

There’s a strong case to be made that Silicon Valley and nearby San Francisco have become the center of the world, displacing even New York and London. That’s because the computer industry is centered there, and technology currently is the number one force that is changing the business landscape. Even if a business has nothing to do with technology, it is strongly influenced by the trends that emerge from the Valley.

Not only are the tools changing, so are the business processes as a result of new technology such as mobile, cloud computing and wearables.

Ever-evolving and adaptive technology is driving and transforming business every day. Businesses that want to thrive are in a constant race to adapt and take advantage of these technologies while they’re still relevant and useful, or otherwise these businesses eventually will fall by the wayside. Here are six technology trends that businesses will have to embrace to stay ahead of the game.

Payments get even easier

While every business today accepts credit cards, and even Grandma is getting savvy about transferring money via Paypal, the friction of making payments is going to be reduced even further in 2016.

With Apple Pay, Google Pay and a litany of mobile payment solutions flooding the market, the trend is toward making payments as easy as a click of a smartphone button, reversing transactions just as easy and sending automatic invoices by email a snap.

Right now this definitely is a business-led trend.

Only 17 percent of consumers in a recent Creditcard.com study said they pay for items using a smartphone most of the time, and adoption rates are low according to almost every study. But research firm, Gartner, predicts that the mobile payment industry will be worth $270 billion in transactions by 2017, up from $235 billion in 2014. That and a forward-thinking strategy has led businesses and technology firms to make a massive push for consumer adoption and the future of payments.

Earlier this year, Google bought Softcard for its Google Pay solution. Samsung acquired LoopPay, and turned it into Samsung Pay. Paypal bought Paydiant in March for much of the same reason. And, of course, there’s Apple Pay, which the company says currently accounts for two out of every three dollars spent using contactless payments.

In terms of merchant adoption, almost every day a new major retailer the likes of Target and Best Buy announces it’s now supporting one new payment system or another.

Security becomes nonnegotiable

No business leaves its doors unlocked at night, but the dirty little secret is that most businesses and their cloud service providers have been playing loose and fast with digital security.

Email is not usually secure, employee mobile devices are unprotected in many cases. VoIP phone systems are not always fully encrypted, and web sites have gaping holes. In the mad dash to embrace the latest technology, security often is an afterthought – and both consumers and businesses are starting to wake up to the liability.

Nearly 5,000 company data breaches have compromised over 815 million records containing information about medical histories, Social Security numbers or bank data since 2005. Which lead the U.S. House Financial Services Committee to overwhelmingly approve legislation that would force companies that lose control of customers’ sensitive personal data to notify both customers and law enforcement.