Every time you see something on the consumer side of tech and gadgets – expect to see a business version of it soon after. Technologies that are created to keep us connected and social on the consumer side – like the Apple Watch or Facetime video chats – are bound to pop up as tools to boost efficiency and productivity for businesses. It’s a trend that’s not going away; it’s just a reality of a tech-centric world where the same people who use the latest gadgets at home also happen to go to work in the morning.
We all know Apple. They’re the gold standard of consumer tech and no shortage of companies do their best to copy Apple’s success – from their hip and artsy laptop commercials that show how “fun” new gadgets can be to the way they’ve made technology not a tool but a statement of social status. Apple shaped its brand around being the desired source for tech and communication products tailor-made for people and their needs. After all, the company’s origin was built on the idea that the person using the computer should have as much control over how they interact with technology – and what those tools do – as possible.
Access continues to be the hallmark of Apple’s product line. iPads, iPhones and MacBooks have made wireless networks, global connectivity and multi-media communication a necessity, no matter where they are or what they’re doing. Whether being used for shopping, sending emails, browsing social media, or working remotely, these consumer technologies were developed to make life easier and more fun for people, and they’ve had a number of enterprise-level benefits as well.
The hyper-connectivity of today’s marketplace has led to business expansion and globalization, even in SMB markets. Roughly a quarter of SMBs have international business ties, making collaboration and unified communication increasingly relevant to productivity, efficiency and revenue generation. What’s more, a younger generation of professionals is entering the workforce having grown up utilizing tools like tablets and smartphones, which may lead many to expect these tools and solutions in a business setting.
The proliferation of the smaller, more agile consumer tech products from companies like Apple has ushered in the era of BYOD (bring your own device). Today, countless employees bring their iPhones and Apple Watches to work, where they connect with company networks. We now have the tools and capabilities to stay connected and collaborate from anywhere in the world affordably, which creates major opportunities for companies and enterprises to enhance communication and boost collaboration across their workforces.
This is good news for SMBs, because as consumer technology has gotten more intuitive, scalable and readily available to the consumer, it has gotten equally so for businesses. What was once expensive, enterprise-level technology that required major implementation and training investments is now readily available and wholly scalable to their business needs and requirements. Instead of taking the time and budget to source, install and maintain custom hardware and software solutions to achieve their collaboration goals of their expanding business climates, they can do so by leveraging the consumer products their employees already utilize.
Technologies and solutions that streamline collaboration, communication and connectivity are no longer workplace luxuries – they’re essential drivers for both enterprises and SMBs. As these technologies continue to be tailored to the individual and become increasingly accessible at the consumer level, small businesses will gain affordable and scalable means for enhancing their collaboration and unified communication capabilities.