The 10 most important enterprise hardware developments of the decade

More information about the concepts that have had a major impact on the business domain.

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The years 2010-2019 have yielded a number of important improvements in the hardware that companies rely on.

Below are the top 10 hardware developments that have influenced the past decade.

1. Tablets

Although often considered a consumer device, the advent of tablets offered great benefits to the company. Whether it was the Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire, Microsoft Surface Pro or another mobile device, companies started using them to streamline their operations.

Examples of business use are CRM activities, inventory management, information gathering, quick access to data or communication, financial transactions and more.

It is worth noting that consumer use of these devices helps companies nowadays by increasing the playing field for content delivery. For example, fans of e-books and streaming audio / video increased sales for organizations such as Amazon, Netflix and YouTube by purchasing services that they could use on their tablets.

SEE: Cheatsheet: Microsoft Surface Pro X (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

2. Mobile payment devices

Mobile credit card readers from companies such as Square, Shopify, Payanywhere, Intuit and other providers (who also coordinate the actual transaction processing) have revolutionized the payment sector.

The ability for companies or self-employed to accept payments from customers on mobile devices not only makes it easier to attract more companies, but also increases profits. Whether it is your local hairdresser, neighborhood Scout junk or non-profit organization looking for a contribution, chances are that mobile devices will be used all around you.

SEE: Security policy for mobile devices (TechRepublic Premium)

3. Smart watches

Smart watches usually fit into mobile devices, which of course are not new in the last decade, but the latest devices ensure better integration, app use and functionality.

Smart watches have many business applications, such as facilitating communication via SMS, telephone or e-mail, taking notes, managing task lists, receiving calendar or travel schedule notifications and even translating text. Some smart watches, such as the Apple Watch Series 5, contain a collection of apps focused on user fitness, biometrics and health research.

SEE: Apple Watch Series 5: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

4. Amazon Echo

Like tablets, the Amazon Echo (better known as Alexa) offers a lot of potential business use, although it is generally considered a consumer device.

The Amazon Echo is not limited to native options. There are numerous additional functions, called skills, that can be added to her repertoire of talents, such as spell check / dictionary, translation, time registration and more.

Business functions offered through Alexa are diverse and attractive. Examples of actions to help the employee’s efficiency include the use of voice assistant, research and calculations, translations, coordinating meetings, finding service providers and keeping track of travel details, costs or tasks. You can also use Alexa to order items through Amazon, such as office supplies, equipment and the like.

SEE: Cheatsheet: Alexa skills (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

5. Self-driving cars

Despite the fact that they are decades away from adoption, in the next decade not much more is expected than autonomous vehicles. Self-driving cars, more specifically, have not yet made an enormous entrance into the realm of the company, but are ready to significantly transform the transport field. Macy Bayern from TechRepublic included three companies (Waymo, GM Cruise and Argo AI) that are ready to become leaders in the autonomous vehicle movement.

Business use and use cases for autonomous vehicles are plentiful. Human drivers, taxi / ride services, truck drivers may no longer be needed, saving the company’s labor costs. Machines can be less prone to error than human drivers, which can cause fewer accidents. Companies do not have to worry about lawsuits caused by driver negligence or intoxication, and traffic / speed fines imposed on company vehicles of human drivers are a thing of the past.

Yes, machines can break down, but as Bayern quoted in the above article, Mo ElShenawy, vice president of engineering at GM Cruise, believes the benefits outweigh the disadvantages:

“At a social level, self-driving cars have the potential to save millions of lives, reform our cities, reduce emissions, give back billions of hours and restore freedom of movement. At the individual level, we believe that self-driving cars deliver safer, more convenient, more affordable and more accessible transport on. “

SEE: Special function: autonomous vehicles and the company (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Note: The following 5 products were invented before 2010, but have received and accepted a major boost in the last decade.

6. Augmented / virtual reality devices

Once considered just a novelty or gaming-related concept, augmented and virtual reality (AR / VR) devices offer business benefits that have been realized in recent years.

Retail industries can use AR / VR technology to enable customers to communicate with their products, thereby increasing potential sales. AR / VR can help with designing and planning to simulate the intended end results. Real estate companies can show virtual tours of real estate. AR / VR can help with education, training and even with surgical measures. It is also possible to work with data and with production / construction efforts using AR / VR devices.

SEE: Special function: Executive’s guide to the business value of VR and AR (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

7. Automated payment / ordering equipment

The progress of automated payment / ordering equipment in companies has had a significant impact over the years. I refer to self-registration registers in shops and table devices in restaurants and bars, with which customers can order more food or drinks, arrange their tabs or call up wait staff. (ECRS provider ECRS offers some good examples of these devices).

While there is something to be said about human interaction, many consumers simply want to facilitate their transactions or interactions with companies by using this new technology and this is unlikely to change in the future.

8. Drones

When Amazon first announced plans to use drones to deliver packages, the concept seemed impossible and futuristic. However, it was reported last June that the Amazon Prime Air drone is starting to deliver packages “within a few months”. And the company does not stop there for drones. The FAA has awarded UPS a certificate for the use of drones on medical campuses across the country. In Australia, data from the drones are trying to save the Great Barrier Reef.

Other common business applications for drones are aerial reconnaissance, photography and security surveillance.

9. Robotics

According to the IFR’s World Robotics Report expects worldwide robot sales to grow by 12% between 2020 and 2022. It is easy to see why, since robotics has progressed so much over the last decade that robots have production and assembly operations, medical procedures, physical security and more.

Robots can also be controlled by humans and sent to dangerous or unpredictable areas, or even to places where people simply cannot come because of environmental risks.

Furthermore, more than half (64%) of employees said they trust a robot more than their manager, with half turning to a robot instead of a supervisor for advice, found an Oracle and Future Workplace report.

10. 3D printers

Acceptance of 3D printing is increasing in various industries, with annual growth estimated at 23.5% over the next five years, James Sanders of TechRepublic reported.

3D printers have become smaller, more portable, faster and more affordable. In addition, printing capabilities such as metal or concrete printing, making vaccines, prostheses or human organs, printing large objects such as furniture or bridges, and the ability to create artworks or other consumer goods have pushed this technology into the enterprise. In some cases, these options already existed, but they were relatively unknown, cumbersome or too expensive.

The use for 3D printing seems limitless. Larry Dignan from ZDNet reported on Casca, a Vancouver startup, who wants to combine 3D printing and additive manufacturing, retail and footwear to bring massive personalization into insoles and shoes. While formlabs, a 3D printing company, is launching a new business unit, 3D printer and materials for the dental market.

The field is still growing strongly with anticipated new developments, including increases in print speeds, printed houses or food, and space benefits – no tools or parts required if you can only print the ones you need.

SEE: 3D printer shows organs that really behave (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

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Image: Getty Images / iStockphoto

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