ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, VIRTUAL REALITY, HOLOGRAMS, AND "smart" devices aren't just the stuff of sci-fi anymore. They are all disrupting gaming, entertainment, and even the way consumers interact with their homes and vehicles.
They are also rapidly becoming important business technologies with which every entrepreneur should become familiar.
Typically, the latest technology is developed for and adopted by the consumer market. Businesses are too risk averse to take chances on the latest tech goods and services, preferring to wait to analyze how the consumer market responds and to perform beta testing to ensure that any new technology integrates well with existing systems and processes.
However, there is the danger of a business waiting too long to adopt the latest in tech and losing out to more future-forward competitors. There are already several major businesses that have adopted or are developing revolutionary business technologies. These technologies can help a business outpace competitors, boost operational efficiency, and cut costs.
Telepresence and Holograms: The Virtual Workforce
Virtual meeting solutions from Citrix, Cisco, Skype, and other online meeting and collaboration software have revolutionized the business world.
Virtual meeting software allows people to collaborate from any corner of the globe without the need for or the expense of travel. Not only can users share screens, desktops, and engage in two-way audio, but many online collaboration solutions support whiteboards, conferencing, real-time group file editing, and file sharing.
Now technology is making it so that workers can virtually teleport into the office. Microsoft's HoloLens, the Redmond, Washington-based company's prototype virtual reality/augmented reality headset, will soon allow workers to show up in the office as a 3-D hologram. HoloLens offers mixed reality--it uses 3-D holographic technology to allow the wearer to interact with both digital content and the physical world. Microsoft's site has videos showing researchers using HoloLens to project their holographic image in 3-D to another user in a remote location who is also using HoloLens.
Telepresence is another quickly advancing way to create virtual workforces. Cisco teamed up with iRobot to create the iRobot Ava 500 Video Collaboration Robot, a rolling robot that is charged in a dock and uses Cisco's built-in telepresence solutions.
Workers, managers, and executives, can virtually...