That was the overwhelming sentiment at the Harnessing Tech to Build Your Business event, presented by Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and Liverpool Hope University and hosted by Santander UK at its Liverpool incubator hub.
Our Technical Director, Steve Todd, joined Dave Reid, Associate Professor in Computer Science from Liverpool Hope University and Andy MacGregor from BT Local Business on a panel hosted by Professor Ian Vandewalle, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Operations) and Head of the Liverpool Hope Business School and the message was clear - new and emerging technologies are well and truly here, but they are far more accessible than many SMEs realise.
Academic insight from Professor Reid highlighted the opportunities presented by disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation, the Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR), Spatial Computing - the combination of all the aforementioned tech to create ‘smart environments’ - and robotics.
Adopt or Die
His advice? That SMEs should be adopting automation, the IoT and AR and VR now - not in four years time. As technology develops at an ever-increasing page, the window for deciding which tech you’re going to back is getting smaller. Leave it too long and you’ll miss the boat. It feels like adopt or die.
We know that pressure, from many SMEs, can be paralysing. There are developments on a daily basis and if there is no specific technology expertise in the business, it’s easy for an organisation to be terrified into inertia or completely overwhelmed with options.
As Steve explained in the discussion, quite often our clients - SMEs and large enterprises alike - don’t actually know what technology they need. Instead they have a broad idea of what they want to achieve, but they don’t know what technology is out there to achieve it and how to get there.
Future-proof business solutions
That’s where we come in. Working with our clients we have examined business issues and delivered cost-effective solutions using many of the technologies Professor Reid highlighted. From our student lettings management platform PropertyCloud (recently nominated for three Big Chip Awards) and our app-based corporate car park management tool Parkr to our 360° VR campus tour platform for Edge Hill University.
None of these clients came to us asking for AI or automation. They just asked for a future-proof solution to a business problem, using a digital platform that would remain sustainable as technological change marches on.
There’s more information on how SMEs can future-proof their digital offering in our free downloadable report - why not take a look and find out just how accessible emerging technologies really are!