New Tech That Can Help or Cripple Your SMBs

1 — Salesforce launches simplified software aimed at small businesses

This week, Inc introduced new sales and customer service software tailored specifically for small businesses. Called ‘Essentials,’ the apps are a simplified version of Salesforce’s Sales and Service Cloud products. Touted as ready to use ‘out of the box’ and priced at $25 per user per month for teams of up to 10 people, Essentials’ cost is $50 less per user than the professional versions of Salesforce products. (Source: Reuters)

Why this is important for your business: has long been recognized as one of the leading customer relationship management applications – but mostly for medium sized and larger companies. Now the company is going after the small business market with new tools that promise powerful functions at more affordable prices. If you’re looking into a CRM application, there are plenty of great contenders – but must always be considered.

2 — Robot ransomware could cripple your business.

Phishing emails aren’t the only vector for ransomware attacks on small businesses. In 2017, research firm IOActive uncovered about 50 vulnerabilities in many well-known enterprise robot models and found that attackers could exploit these flaws to spy via the robot’s microphone and camera, leak data, or even cause physical harm. (Source: Tech Republic)

Why this is important for your business:

You probably don’t have a robot like Pepper in your business -  but those days are soon coming, and many larger companies are trying out these devices to help with customer service and increase productivity. Unfortunately, these robots seem to be just as prone to ransomware as any other device – and the effects could be significant.  So watch out!

3 — More and more companies are using AI for job interviews.

About 38% of working Americans are actively looking for a new job or plan to sometime this year, according to a recent report by employment research firm Glassdoor. But they might be surprised to find that those “first impressions” so carefully emphasized by career coaches are now being outsourced to artificial intelligence. In fact, 33% of respondents in a 2017 Deloitte survey said they already used some form of AI in their hiring process. (Source: CNBC)

Why this is important for your business:

If you’re spending a lot of time on recruiting, look at newer and “smarter” hiring tools – like HireVue and Montage – that use AI to help you qualify and select the best people by cutting down interview time and making better choices.

4 — Ripple wants to invest in startups that can put its XRP cryptocurrency to work.

Payments company Ripple is planning to invest in startups and technology companies to develop more uses for its XRP cryptocurrency—which is currently the third largest digital token behind bitcoin and Ethereum based on total market cap. And Ripple is just one of many companies preparing to use the windfall of a highly valued crypto token to advance its business or ecosystem. (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your business:

It’s not just Ripple.  According to the TechCrunch article there are at least a half dozen companies that are raising capital to invest in startups and others that are willing to use their cryptocurrencies in their own platform or products. Last month, a bunch of blockchain companies launched a $100 million fund to accomplish the same. Is this an opportunity for you?

5 – Amazon aspires to transform business meetings using Alexa.

Alexa for Business, which Amazon launched last year, is able to configure conference rooms and integrate calendars to the devices of those attending a meeting.  The company's chief technology officer just blogged some examples of how this can be used in your business. (Source: Geek Wire)

Why this is important for your business:

It automatically knows what the meeting is from an integrated calendar, mines the dial-in information, dials into the conference provider, and starts the meeting. In addition, Alexa for Business can automatically lower the projector screen, dim the lights, and more, while also enabling people who work from home to take advantage of these capabilities. I’m sold, how about you?

(Original article