Here are ten things in technology that happened last month and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?
1. A startup wants to get rid of unconscious bias in the office. Joonko, an Atlanta-based startup, has launched new software that will help managers “ensure greater inclusion within their teams.” The AI-powered software is able to plug into companies’ current platforms like Salesforce and Workday and then “rifle through a given company’s existing data in order to suggest real-time corrective action that can reduce discrimination at work.” (Source: VentureBeat) Why this is important for your business: The software will look at religion, culture and gender and analyze tasks, wages and results to gauge and coach you how to improve your employees’ productivity and inclusion. It will even help with the hiring process — big issues for business owners. 2. GoDaddy has a new website-building tool for small businesses. The popular Web hosting services has introduced a tool that will allow users to “create a complete website from a mobile device in under an hour.” According to the company, the product also features a suite of SEO and e-mail marketing tools, Facebook page integration and a dashboard that provides recommendations on how to increase traffic and sales. (Source: ZDNet) Why this is important for your business: You need a website. You don’t have the time or the savvy to build one. You don’t have the money either. This seems like the perfect tool for the on-the-go Millennial entrepreneur. 3. MailChimp has launched support for Facebook ad campaigns. The popular e-mail marketing service is … wait … offering services outside of e-mail. MailChimp’s new features will let their members use their current e-mail lists to target prospects and customers on Facebook and then create Facebook ad campaigns all within the application. (Source: TechCrunch) Why this is important for your business: If your firm is active on Facebook, and you do a lot of e-mailing, here’s a chance to bring your marketing activities on both platforms together under one roof. MailChimp says that 16 percent of its more than 15 million users are ecommerce companies, so this move makes sense. 4. Your employees can now take Lyft Line rides to get to and from work. The popular ride-sharing app has announced that commuters in many major cities like Seattle, New York and Miami can now use pretax dollars to travel to work via Lyft Line, Lyft’s rideshare option. The new program lets employees save “up to 40 percent on rides,” said the company. (Source: GeekWire) Why this is important for your business: Helping to defray the high cost of commuting is a great benefit to offer to your employees. Lyft Line will work with services like WageWorks, TransitChek, Benefit Resource, Commuter Benefit Solutions, Navia and Zenefits. 5. Retailers will soon have a new way to deliver their products. StorePower is a new app for grocery stores that helps them take orders for pickup or delivery, map their store, automates multi-order picking and gives them other tools. Credit cards can be set up ahead of time so shoppers can skip the checkout line. (Source: TechCrunch) Why this is important for your business: Your retail clients are about to see a huge change in the way customers shop amid competition from Amazon and other big brands that are investing heavily in technology to improve self-service checkout and deliveries that Millennials and urban dwellers are demanding. They’ll likely be investing in systems like StorePower soon. 6. Retailers are also getting more inventory help … from Intel. The chip maker says it has a new application called “Responsive Retail Platform” that will be able to track store inventory and aid customers in real time. The platform “creates a common set of sensors, software kits, and other assets to push the retail experience notches up.” Intel says that it is planning to spend $100 million on the retail industry in the next five years. (Source: Tech Times) Why this is important for your business: What, you didn’t believe me when I said that big changes are coming to retail? Even Intel is jumping in with an enormous investment in store management technology to help merchants operate faster. Retailers, get your wallets out. 7. Google Maps can now help you park. Google has a new feature that uses “easy,” “medium” and “limited” descriptions to let users know the parking situation at their destination. While driving, a user can “expand the turn-by-turn directions to see a more detailed explanation” of the parking situation. (Source: TechCrunch) Why this is important for your business: Just another free service from the Lords of Google to help us save time and increase our productivity. Bless them all. 8. TripAdvisor is adding enhanced listing options for hotels and restaurants. New features will include allowing hotels and restaurants to highlight a “favorite review” and “best photos,” as well as better analytics “with extensive traveler, engagement and competitor data.” (Source: Marketing Land)
Why this is important for your business: My family risked our lives on a crocodile swamp boat tour in Australia last year and my wife loved it so much, she left a great TripAdvisor review. The owner of the little tour business (Bruce – he offered free meat pies, too!) said that, without TripAdvisor, he would have no business. I’m sure he’ll love these new features. For the record, my wife’s review got more than 600 likes, so he wasn’t kidding!
Employee Gillian Pennington demonstrates the Microsoft Corp. HoloLens augmented reality viewer at the Microsoft Developers Build Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, March 30, 2016.
9. Construction workers will soon get smartglasses, Microsoft hopes. The company is working with the University of Cambridge to test its Hololens smartglasses for construction. The Hololens has been available to developers since 2016, but its consumer release date is still unknown. (My company, the Marks Group, is a Microsoft Partner. (Source: Computer Business Review) Why this is important for your business: If you have clients who are contractors or in the construction industry, expect in the future that smartglasses will help their workers perform inspections or identify structural errors and problems so their supervisors and experts can review and offer solutions remotely and in real time. 10. Google Translate will now let users read Japanese instantly via their hovering smartphones. Translation tools are getting better and better. Microsoft announced recently that Skype can translate calls in real time. Now Google says that its Translate app will let users hover their smartphone in front of a piece of text written in Japanese and instantly translate it. That should make your next trip to Tokyo a little easier! (Source VentureBeat)
Why this is important for your business: For many companies, expanding to other countries is an important way to grow. Language has always been a huge headache – new tools like this will hopefully make it easier for you to do business overseas.
Gene Marks is a columnist, author, and small business owner. His weekly columns and blogs for The New York Times, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and Philadelphia Magazine are read by thousands of small and midsized business owners around the country.